December 10, 2008

A Quick Study Of Albanian Lego Sub-Machine Guns

My First Sub-Machine Gun

We're not hippie freaks about it, but we don't let the kid have toy guns, play with toy guns, or pretend that she's playing with a gun. When she started pointing sticks and Lego structures at us and looking like she was shooting, we'd ask her what she was doing. And she'd be all, "It's not a gun, it's a rocket!" or "It's an airplane."

"Where are its wings?"

"Oh, yeah. I forgot!"

Then she trotted out the sub-machine gun above, we asked her about it, and that's when we found out she kind of didn't know what she was doing. Because though she knew what guns were, and that they're used for hunting, and in war and stuff, or that they made bright firework lights and sounds in a movie, she actually did not realize what they did.

So we explained to her how guns put holes by making little explosions that sent bullets flying into the things they were pointing at. And if that was an animal or a person, those holes could kill it. And so when you're pretending to point a gun at someone, you're pretending to kill him. And we don't do that in our family. And so the kid agreed to put the Lego machine gun away, and that we'd take it apart in the morning.

After the kid went to bed, we tried to figure out where she'd learned to build a sub-machine gun. My wife was sure they didn't allow gun play at preschool, and since I'd only ever seen light sabre play there, I had to agree. So which gangbangin' playmate had we left out? And then I remembered this:

Some Albanian Kid's Lego Sub-Machine Gun

It's a fleeting shot from a movie about an art project some friends made in Albania in 2005 as part of the Tirana Biennial. Called The Negotiation Project, Olafur Eliasson had dumped three tons of white Legos in the city's central plaza and let the crowd build their fantasy city while Anri Sala, an Albanain artist living in Paris, filmed the scene. The kid and I had watched it a couple of times several weeks earlier, part of my plan to expand her Lego horizons a bit. I guess I succeeded.

press release and photos: Albanians build vision of future - with 3 tons of LEGO bricks [lego.com]
The Negotiation Project's not there, but an Anri Sala exhibition just opened at the MoCA North Miami, through March 1, 2009 [mocanomi.org]
It does include The Long Sorrow, though, Sala's beautiful, moody film featuring jazz sax player Jemeel Moondoc, which the kid loved last year [designboom, dt]

3 Comments

Can't see the video at work, but did the Albanians include little fantasy lego piles of trash everywhere in their fantasy lego city?

that's just a still. the video's not anywhere online.

I'm taking a good look at that picture, and it's a little gun made from Lego's, but it's obviously not that big, as there are many Lego pieces around it that are pretty big themselves....

Look, I understand what guns can do. I come from an area that hunts. City people see it as barbaric. Those doing the hunting though, 90% of those aren't hunting so they can have a deer head on their wall - they need to eat. And another thing I have noticed is that people in the city equate hunting a deer to a bunch of rednecks going out with sub-machine guns - because we all know that deer wear bulletproof vests, and can shoot back.

I don't mean to insult or to tell you what to do, and I understand that you would want your children to know what guns can do, and they pain that they can cause - but children need to use their imagination. Parents letting our children imagine things isn't going to make them a huge psycho mass murderer... Unless you happen to use all three names, or *gasp* even worse - if you have three first names!

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