Go to a primary school near you at 1:30pm or the end of a school day and wait at the gate with the parents and helpers for the children to come out of school.
The sight and sounds of children leaving school are usually experienced from two perspectives—as the student, or as the guardian/parent waiting to pick them up. With hordes of children released at once, the school gate becomes a cathartic threshold; a literal gateway to innocent joys. The event is a climactic intersection between childhood and adult routines, where we, the spectators, reconfigure our bearings in life.
As adults, the end of a school day is experienced differently: those with children might already be part of the community of ‘waiters’, while those who are childless would have long moved on from the simplicity of after-school joy. With shifting familial dynamics, the demographics of the waiting crowd also present a snapshot of parental roles and values. The visible relief spilling out with the students further echoes the 1895 short film Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory, making space for connections to be drawn between modern systems of mass education and the industrialised workforce.