From February 11 to September 17, 2023
Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo
Av. Insurgentes Sur 3000, C.U.,
Coyoacán, 04510 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Since 1999, Alÿs has been producing videos documenting games traditionally played by children in the streets and backyards around the world. Juegos de niñxs [Children’s games] is an ongoing archive of urban practices that modernization has banished from everyday life, as public space is disrupted by the dominance of vehicular transportation and free time is monopolized by electronic distractions.
The children’s games that Alÿs records are extremely interesting for their conceptual implications: their rules, images and references project a variety of concepts around time and the world. These games 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 sustained the shared life of childhood on the streets. While often of direct ethnographic documentation value, they also metaphorically record the changes in contemporary societies and their conflicts.
A large number of these games, if not the entire series of 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.
Artist: Francis Alÿs (Antwerp, 1959; lives and works in Mexico City).
Curated by: Cuauhtémoc Medina and Virginia Roy.