The visual images presented are a collection taken of the playful way children might build dwellings using furniture and blankets. Most of us adults will recollect that at some point in our childhood our playfulness was expressed in this manner of activity. McFadyen’s project aims to look at the psychological underpinning that forms the basis of a child’s need for refuge, specifically in the context of the activity of building dwellings.
Why is it that children at an early age have a disposition to create a dwelling place, a hideout, home or hut? On the surface it appears as something relatively innate and simple. Yes, children are playful, but does it point to a deeper longing or urge? McFadyen’s exploration of this activity brought him to several conclusions. His understanding reveals that in all of us, no matter child or adult, there is a resonating desire to have a place of refuge, a dwelling in which we can feel safe, have control over, decorate and develop to our personality’s flavour. More profoundly, it can be linked to the earliest phase of dwellings that every human has experienced- the womb of their mother. This place was the ultimate refuge, a life-giving place that created and forged a bond between mother and child. There is a sense of being enveloped and safe in a warm and comfortable environment.
The second conclusion McFadyen attempts to illustrate is the fantastical way children imagine and strive to interpret their otherworldly visions. There is a mix of fantasy and exploring of the unknown that enters our playfulness. Crudely, we may label it whimsical, but in actuality it is our constitution, which demands to explore the eternal and unlimited. We are designed to be playful because in reality it is the catalyst to discovery and creativity. The greatest inventors and artists all carried with them a certain degree of playfulness or whimsicality.
The visual aesthetic McFadyen employs to describe these two points is grasped in the images by showing a soft inviting feel, warm colours and palpable texture. This is his rendering of a mother’s womb, equally meaningful because he has used a blanket to create the effect. A blanket is an allegorical symbol of refuge and comfort, which the womb itself performs. The blanket is blurred with a slow shutter speed and gentle movement which links to the mother’s movements carrying the unborn foetus. The language of the otherworldly dimension incorporates leather furniture in a more emphatic allusion. McFadyen, wanted to create an atmosphere that reaches into the spiritual. It is purposely abstract to reference the often-abstract imaginations of a child’s playfulness. It is shot from a low perspective and the leather sofa looms over us to create awe as though we are entering another realm and embarking on exploration.

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