"Through the Window," a short film featuring young children's impressions of the Yale Center for British Art (designed by Louis Kahn, completed in 1974) from vantage points inside and outside, and the art collection within, premiered Saturday, June 21 in the museum's auditorium in New Haven. Sean and I were commissioned by the Education Department at the museum to collaborate with first and second grade children from the Foote School for the project. The premise of the film came from producer Cyra Levenson, Associate Curator of Education: have small groups of 6-8 year-old children narrate the world as seen through the lens of Kahn's last building, with particular focus on looking through the large window within the 4th story gallery housing many of J.M.W. Turner's paintings from the 19th century.
The children came to the project with characteristic poetry and wisdom. Here are some excerpts from their narration:
• All the things outside are the painters of this painting. All the cars, all the people, all the bricks, are the painters. Everyone is a painter. The painting is called “Outside.” It must have took him a long time to make this painting, like a hundred million years, and everybody moving and stuff, and all the cars.
• A painting’s kind of like, if you walk right into it, you’d slam right into it, you’d probably break it. In the real world, you can walk around in it.
In the real world, you can go in stuff, you can touch stuff.
• When you’re an architect, you’re kind of like, important, cause you designed the buildings, and if there were no architects, it would be hard for the people that build the buildings, to decide where to put the stuff, cause they didn’t have a plan.
• I see trees, the leaves on trees, and the wind is blowing them.
• The building has probably more than a thousand pools in it.
• There are lots of tiny people one inch tall waving at us.