Every object contains within itself its own archetype, a link to the time and the world to which it belonged. An old school desk can carry us back in time, evoking countless personal recollections while bringing to life the emotions associated with that particular period of our lives. In the same way, what is today the latest model of a cell phone will, with the passage of time, come to remind us of these days and of the world that created and used it. Objects serve to tell the story – and the history – of the people and the society in which they existed.
These simple benches also include their own archetypal ideal. While this ideal may be different for each one of us, it is sure to take us back to a time when, far more often than today, we found ourselves sitting side by side, whether on the train, in the school cafeteria or in church. Our social, gregarious side found its expression more readily when we less concerned about guarding our personal space than we are now.
A bench is a collective seat, something one would expect from a society more given to sharing, to being more tolerant and less selective with regard to others. Chairs divide, while benches unite. Chairs enclose and delimit each one’s personal space; benches bring it together.
The setting, environment and precise placement of benches are all quite different from those of chairs and individual seats. In the Benches game, players are going to come up with compositions, juxtapositions and inspirations that are quite different from those that arise in the game of chairs (another Ludus Ludi game). The creations resulting from stacking, balancing and redistributing the space in and among these benches is sure to evoke a strange familiarity with a past age.
Ladders are the symbol of paradise lost, of that unattainable paradise. They seduce us because with them we can climb to the heights, much as we did in our previous life as primates. Climbing, forever upwards: it seems an aspiration in itself. Fruit, hanging from branches that are out of reach.
Could these trunks have once belonged to a cherry tree, with its shimmering red leaves? Or to an elegant birch tree, nestled close to a mountain stream? In either case, happy little creatures would have been found skittering about under their branches, which would have undoubtedly provided shade for more than one weary, long-forgotten traveler.
This game is based on two of the oldest and most basic play activities known: stacking and balancing. People have been playing with these elements since the dawn of time. Both possibilities - standing up or falling over - can be equally exciting.