Saturday, September 26, 2009

Parkour reflected in a Mirror's Edge

Parkour, or l'art du déplacement is a physical excersice or artform in which you use your body to move in what often is urban landscapes, trying to tackle different parts of the scenery in imaginative ways. Another form is called free running.

Photograph by Alexandre Ferreira, used here with permission under Creative Commons.

I am by no means performing the movements of Parkour, but I have come to learn that it really is a interesting concept and philosophy. I think I first saw free running moves in movies like James Bond: Casino Royale and Madonna's video for her song Jump. And it would have probably stopped there unless I would have bought swedish produced game Mirror's Edge a couple of days ago.

Mirrors Edge is a a clever game, which is visually stunning as well as caught my interest in finding out more about the philosophy of free running and parkour. What it is and why the freedom to challange obstacles and using your body and interact with your surrounding.

Faith from Mirror's Edge, looking out on a stunning scenery.

Of course Mirrors Edge is mostly just a spectacular game, which I think has many positive aspects as well as a sheer beauty that many other games lack: parkour is something more then that though. As far as popular culture goes, movies tends to mostly focus on having a villain or hero doing free running to highten the exitement. But it is important to know that there is more to it then this.

Members of the Seattle Parkour Asssociation practice at Seattle's Gasworks Park. Photo by Paul Swortz, used with permission under Creative Commons.

Parkour is a philosophy based on a positive relationship with the body, using it to train your body and mind to overcome obstacles. Not only climbing physical fences so to say, but moving past and beyond mental walls as well. There has been arguments about the history of parkour, but it it i safe to say that it has a strong french connection with men like Georges Hébert, who was the first to write about parkour as a 'natural method' of moving oblivious to your surrounding.

According to Andy from Parkour North America parkour it is:

"a means of reclaiming what it means to be a human being. It teaches us to move using the natural methods that we should have learned from infancy. It teaches us to touch the world and interact with it, instead of being sheltered by it.

Also worth noting is that people in parkour hold the idea that it should be non-competetive and against rivalry. In this sense, it is similar to geo-caching: which I practise and is also not focused on winning against others.

It is important to build a positive relationship with one's body. And while parkour might definetly not be for everybody, it is one practise amongst many which ponts towards imaginative ways of rethinking how to use your body. And because of this, I believe it has the potential to allow for people who practise it to grow.


Alicia @ boylerpf said...

This is so interesting and something I have never heard about. To use one's body to maneuver the obstacles must require great mental thinking as well. Thank you!...for teaching me yet another thing I was not aware of!

Renee said...

That is so interesting. I almost fainted looking at the woman on top of the buildings. AAAAAhhhhhh.

Love Renee xoxo

Sarah said...

Oh I think this sounds like soooomuch fun - wish I was still young enought to do it - the goe caching though - more up my alley!!! Wonderful post hon!!
It seems that my avatar has gone missing all over the place - I have not stopped following you hon..geesh!! Hope all is well with you! Namaste, Sarah

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