Event Details : KHOJ Studios Presents Play @ Khirkee
This project seeks to explore the patterns and affordances of playing for children and young people in Khirkee. Playing comes naturally to children. However, play, which is vital to children’s health and well-being, is often thought of as unwanted behaviour by adults. On the contrary, it represents a unique behaviour that allows children to appropriate time and space for their own needs and desires. Playing and the many different interactions with everyday places allow children to make sense of the world in their own terms.
According to Sudeshna Chatterjee “Ordinarily children can and do provide for their own play. However, in the context of a mega city such as Delhi, this right is not so obviously exercised by children anymore. Khirkee represents a unique urban location being on the margins of shiny new mega malls and corporate hospitals. These developments have enhanced the real estate potential of Khirkee and its extensions even though Khirkee continues to survive on informal systems.”
Sudeshna is still in the quest of finding answers to various questions like: what do the children of Khirkee play? When do they play? Where do they play? How do they play? What are some of the constraints to playing outdoors for boys and girls? How do children negotiate with parents, other adults and different interest groups that simultaneously lay claim over urban space to play outdoors? Growing up in the shadows of globalized real estate of the Saket Malls, do children still engage in traditional games? How do they use the affordances of the physical environment of Khirkee and its surroundings through play? Do children have access to internet and computer games in this community? How do adults perceive children and children’s play in this community? What are the intergenerational opportunities for play and recreation in this community? These are some of the questions among others that this ethnographic filed study will seek to answer.
As a part of the project, the curator is also trying to map the Khirkee’s play area for the children. Sudeshna also tries to locate the different races of people who use the park in Khirkee village. Sudheshna further explains her survey at Khirkee: “This is a special place for children. I have seen more free and imaginative play unfold here than in any other neighbourhood in Delhi in a long time. Children in Khirkee have several places to choose from to play in their everyday environment. This ranges from the manicured garden-like-setting inside the large Khirkee park to the dusty barren rectangular DDA park, from the vast rough grounds of Satpula to the sunken rock strewn open spaces around the Khirkee mosque, which is an (un)protected monument. Of course, in addition to these open spaces and parks that are typically used only in summer evenings, the large nearly car free streets near home, squares and courtyards offer another layer of immediate closer home anytime play spaces for children.”
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