Yesterday we sat in the dark for hours, behind a curtain that led to a space lit only by small white LED mountains and flashlights. We were at ArtPlay, for the final showing of the The Boy Who Loved Tiny Things. (You can visit our interactive exhibition of the show's development at ArtPlay from 10-4pm until Sunday 1st Feb).
Backstage was mesmerising. We laid on the cool, hard floor and listened. Something like silence. Occasional scuffling indicated that small feet were moving. We knew the whispering to be exchanges between children and adults, and perhaps our hosts the 'Care-takers'. When we could bear it no longer, all four of us scaled the stairs and perched high on the upper level. In the galaxy-like field of objects below, a large group of adults and children gathered in small groups beside a gigantic illuminated tent. Hunched over lights, they clustered the tiny sculptures. Searchers navigated the maze of white objects like experts.
He spoke, the boy. His voice arrived from Minneapolis two days previous, telling of tiny things, collections, and memories. He spoke the stories that children from various Melbourne suburbs had written. From up high, we could barely make out the words, though we knew they were wise and big, about time and space, and our shared place in the universe.
Eventually the clusters of children, friends, parents and grandparents made their own tiny things, wrote about them and investigated their shapes and stories. They took their words to the hidden room of collected thoughts, lit carefully by a Caretaker's torch and read them to each other. The collection of Tiny Things, both seen and unseen, continues to grow.