Since 1999, Alÿs has been producing videos documenting the games traditionally played by children in streets and backyards around the world.


Exhibited at MUAC, Juegos de niñxs (Children’s games) is an ongoing archive of urban practices that modernization is banishing from everyday life, as the concept of public space is disrupted by the predominance of vehicular transportation and the monopolization of free time by electronic distractions.


The children's amusements that Alÿs records are an endangered subway culture that united generations and crossed borders, but they are also extremely interesting for their conceptual implications. Their rules, images and references project a variety of concepts about time and the world, and suggest a potent and ancient substratum of our shared experience, all the more reason for us to be concerned about their imminent disappearance.

Many of these videos tend to be located in regions of the world where relative economic underdevelopment, and the strength of tradition and social communities, have made the shared life of childhood on the street subsist. While they often have a direct ethnographic documentation value, they also metaphorically record the changes in contemporary societies and their conflicts. Both because of the mysterious way in which certain games are played by extremely dissimilar societies, and because of the human value they share, they also appear as a vehicle of meaning that unites cultures and ways of life.


A large number of these games, if not the entire series of Francis Alÿs' Juegos de niñxs, give off a utopian aura. They propose and document forms of self-regulated sociability, where children establish a diagram of their social relations on a competitive basis, but without recourse to legislation or force.


These political implications are one of Alÿs' main motivations for producing his work. For all these reasons, Juegos de niñxs is a project that goes far beyond the singularity of one artist: it is an essential archive for the future of humanity.

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