When you’re a kid, your friends are almost completely decided by coincidence and convenience. Your age, location, school and other factors are already chosen, by your parents, or even by chance. They affect who you get to know, what you get to know, and especially who you are.
Nonetheless, some of our fondest memories come from our youngest years. Meeting new friends to play and imagine and entertain with, and existing in this oblivious child agreement that whatever this strange-world-that-we-have-found- ourselves-in is, we will let it become so much more.
The idea of “social interaction,” and attachment starts young, with friends (both real and imaginary), toys and TV characters, and with it, there is this sense of naivety that preserves something very raw and real within children. Something that, when they are together, you can see very prominently in how they acknowledge and play and pretend with each other.
We wanted to do a series that reflected this pure sort of interaction. We thought it would be interesting to explore this idea of friendship and pairing at such a young age where primary social interaction is filled with so much energy and exploration. Whether it be between the child and their mom, dad, babysitter, friend, stuffed animal, imaginary friend, or even a pet, the dynamic is something different from what we are used to but still relevant to how we practice interaction today.
Our series focuses on siblings, Thomas and Penelope, and explores their young form of friendship and interaction. Thomas and Penelope, aged 3 and 4, ran from street to street and slide to swing, only momentarily stopping to tell each other things while preparing to launch “to the moon,” at the same time. There were moments when you could see the need they had for each other, even if it was only to have another voice in the game, or to chase them around a world that resided in their imaginations. We saw that although some of these instances were filled with annoyance and agitation, they seemed to act in mutual agreement that they would always come back to each other, but would disappear just the same—wanting to explore alone and be part of a world that was only theirs. However they always remaining conscious of each other.
It might be just being kids, or it may be being siblings, but they were so discernibly interacting even when they weren’t. And that’s what it seems like interacting becomes about from a young age. More than conversation and talking, it’s something unexpected and maybe a little unfamiliar, but concurrently and undeniably—it is there. Let’s hope parts of it always will be.
Thank you to Thomas and Penelope for modeling.