by woodshed

Vera Frenkel’s String Games: Improvisations for Inner-City Video (1974)

in this lovely little number, Frenkel had artists play one of my favorite string games, cat’s cradle, across Canada via video feed!
Frenkel is known for investigating art’s potential to communicate…
here she is, in 1974, already intuiting and playing with social medias that foreshadow how we are all sharing art today…
you know, like the tin can telephones that let us stay up past bedtime and tell secrets to the neighbors.

furthermore, this piece is not only creating a link from Toronto to Montreal it is also using a language that is cross-culturally relevant and understood.
cat’s cradle and string games are played all across the world, a simple ritual that unknowing knits us all.
(the Smithsonian cites that anthropologist Louis Leakey used the game as a proverbial “in” with the natives of Sub-Saharan Africa who were suspicious of European anthropologists…
but once Leakey busted out his cat’s cradle skills…well…
the rest is history…)

Ainu children playin'

i can remember really feeling like a master with my rainbow cat’s cradle string…and when my official c.c. implement was lost, i’d confidently use my own shoelace.
my favorite was witch’s broom…

a Sierra Miwok woman playin' circa 1903




johnny cash playin'