From Covid-inspired tag in Mexico to soccer with no ball in Iraq: Francis Alÿs on his joyous films of children’s games


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We use the expression “child’s play” to suggest that something is a doddle, yet the ways children entertain themselves are often the result of great ingenuity and resourcefulness. The Belgian-born, Mexico-based artist Francis Alÿs has spent more than 20 years travelling around the world filming children’s games, some universal, others developed in response to conflicts, poverty and pandemics. For his forthcoming exhibition, Ricochets, Alÿs will turn the brutalist Barbican in London into a vibrant cinematic playground featuring kite fighting in Afghanistan, rope jumping in Hong Kong, stone skimming on Moroccan shores and whirling until one falls in the Democratic Republic...