Field 1968


   A social experiment — video artwork by Kym Maxwell


BRIEF (500 Characters)

A three channel video work explores the potential for conflict in collective choice: a social experiment and trust exercise in which children demonstrate their individual capabilities via the physical or virtual “wild” (a site for unsupervised play). ‘Field 1968’ takes cues from the utopian ideals of Allen Kaprow’s HAPPENINGS of the 60’s and 70’s and includes social constructivist theories of Vygotsky, Schiller and Deleuze; and appearances by artists Sean Peoples, Holly Childs and Dan Bell.


Sample text read by children Caitlin Burgemeister and Thenuga De Alwis

Given a reprieve

Respite from demands

Free to roam

Are we free?

There are laws and boundaries, control within narratives from infancy eternal

Natural laws counteract the imbalance

Can we touch natural laws in our consciousness, from our memory?

The future question

Do we touch nature in our mind?

Smell nature on the screen?

Share empathy?


       Description of Content

Ten children from different backgrounds, friendship groups and neighbourhoods are bought together in a social experiment. What happened to unsupervised outdoor play and what of the increase of unsupervised indoor play, via online realities. How may future technocrats ‘Explore the Wild?’ What motives, aesthetics and skills do they gain in the world today, unsupervised? What happened to the hay day of the child self governing often a utopian ideal of the 60’s? Over three screens — children in groups explore the contested tangiable natural and untangiable virtual worlds through language, social coersion and movement? Field 1968 questions, How will play alter with the eventual collapse of sense and movement through virtual and physical realities in our increasingly expanded social field? Shot on three locations, the secondary characters: three adults play protangonist to the children’s reality. Sent to assist them on their journey artists Sean Peoples, Holly Childs and Dan Bell become elemental supports as characters, a Mystic Hobo and Future Writer: each posing a vice, the authority of the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) a Vygotskian theory which directly corellates with Montessori’s theories of ‘Help from the Periphery’. The Mystic Hobo for example, facilitates learning as well as, inadvertently altering it through teaching, thus enabling playful impressions and movement. The rapid eye movement of a virtual game player challenges our ideals, that a child is free to roam unsupervised (ideals associated to 60’s and pre-war eras and their utopia imagery) either down the creek or to the playground, when society was SAFE. The adventure of Field 1968 is psychoanalytic, a discovery of a child’s moral and ethical exploration through the alliances and meaning found in group work and a child’s capacity to monitor their own and others safety and learning.


Inspiration: Allen Kaprow’s HAPPENINGS

To Kaprow, a Happening was "A game, an adventure, a number of activities engaged in by participants for the sake of playing." Kaprow’s says that the Happenings were "events that, put simply, happen." There was no structured beginning, middle, or end, and there was no distinction or hierarchy between artist and viewer. The work’s inspiration also comes from Palle Nielsen’s ‘Model for a Qualitative Society’ of 1968.

Field 1968 installation view, multichannel video work

Field 1968 installation view, multichannel video work

 Documentary Stills from video shoot.,'Field 1968', a multichannel video work produced in 2014. All images by Kym Maxwell

A screen shot of the video Field 1968 (2014)

A screen shot of the video Field 1968 (2014)