Children’s Games is an ongoing archive of urban practices that modernization has been banishing from everyday life as the concept of public space is distorted by the domination of motor vehicles and free time by electronic diversions. The children’s games that Alÿs captures constitute a threatened underground culture that brought together generations and crossed borders, and which are extremely interesting due to their conceptual implications. Their rules, images and references project a variety of concepts on time and the world and suggest an ancient, potent substrate underlying our shared experience, which is another reason why we should be concerned with their imminent disappearance.
A large number of these games, if not the entire series Children’s Games by Francis Alÿs, give off a utopian aura. They express and document forms of self-regulated sociability, in which children establish a diagram of their social relationships on a competitive basis without recurring to legislation or force.