Snow, Play and Creativity in the Age of Immersive Experiences

I took some photographs on Hampstead Heath on a snowy December day. Why did it feel so special and different? London last had snow in February 2021 – nearly 2 years ago and also during the period of the 3rd National Lockdown. This December’s snow has now disappeared, and it arrived suddenly, blanketing the roofs, train tracks and pathways:

Early Morning, 12/12/2022

I dug out my walking boots and walked up to towards Parliament Hill Fields on Hampstead Heath.

Snow Selfie in back of Scooter Mirror

The snow was nice and fresh but there was already a risk of slipping:

The first thing I noticed when I arrived at Parliament Hill Fields on Hampstead Heath were the local school kids having fun:

Snowball, Parliament Hill Fields

Schoolboys carrying clumps of snow

Adults were were being playful too:

In addition to the sporting opportunities, what I really noticed was the unleashing of creativity that the snow inspired. Next, a series of snow constructions from variations on the snowman to architectural structures and sculptures:

I chatted to the girls in the image below and they confirmed the gender of the snow person they were making was definitely female. It makes me wonder whether the rosy cheeks on the structure are indicative of the cold or signs of blusher:

Girls creating a Snow Woman

A couple making an Igloo

It’s not often you come across a couple constructing an igloo together; quite romantic I think!

Figurative sculpture:

I was walking near the wooded spot where there I have regularly practiced Qigong in the past where I spotted from behind what appeared to be a realistic human figure seated on a bench , but made out of snow, giving the illusion of someone frozen on the spot. I got so excited I nearly twisted my ankle rushing to meet it:

I asked the couple to take my photo seated alongside the figure. I was impressed by the detail on the sculpture – it even had abs. Someone had placed a beer can in its hand which I thought was funny.

Later on I came across some boys in the process of constructing a giant phallus out of snow. As well as the prank element there was a pagan sculptural element to this for me, reminiscent of prehistoric and Medieval oversized fertility symbols.

For the Record /Admiring their handiwork

This December’s snow has now disappeared – it was a transient immersive experience whilst it was fresh; a natural Winter Wonderland. This actually felt magical, in contrast to the trend for commercial immersive experiences that are often very crowded and expensive to attend.

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