Benchwarmers  

Harbourfront Center 2013, Art School (Dismissed) 2010

Drawing, photography, video and sculpture

Dodgeball is a game of elimination. It pits children against each other with the common goal of pegging one another out. In the beginning, we imagined this piece as a two-channel video—one with the aggressor, depicting a legion of flying balls and one with the dodger, an image of continually moving limbs that try to avert the attack. After filming twelve year old Max and his friend Owen, however, the complex nature of friendship, sportsmanship and competition demonstrated itself. During the interview, we asked the boys if they would describe themselves as competitive. They immediately answered yes, emphasizing their responses with a “very, very, competitive” from Owen, followed by the one-upmanship “very, very, very competitive” from Max. Although we shot the film as originally imagined, the most compelling footage came from the interview’s outtakes—moments when the boys were unaware of their actions. The bench was over six feet long, but the boys instinctively sat crushed together. Throughout the interview, there was nonstop fidgeting. The balls were twirled, bounced, spun, punched, hugged, stepped on, kicked and used as a pillow. The footage captured the physical nature and dynamics of their friendship, from intimate moments when one playfully put the other in a headlock, to focused concentration when they tried to beat each other at dodgeball, to moments of disappointment... a missed shot and when one of them finally gets pegged out.