Venice Biennale: Belgian Children’s Games Francis Alice

At the 59 Venice Biennale, the Belgian Pavilion welcomes Francis Alice, a Mexican from Antwerp, with 12 videos filmed since 2017, in Hong Kong, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Belgium and Mexico.

The first confinement prevented us from talking to each other: he was secluded 75 kilometers south of Mexico City, in the agricultural valley of Tepoztlan, out of his reach. In Venice, his youthful voice forms a chain of water-playing thoughts, accompanied by an orchestra of screwdrivers. In the Belgian pavilion built in 1907 by Leon Sneiers, the first Giardini della Biennale, surrounded by the Netherlands (1912) and Spain (1922), he installed it. His children’s game series began in 1999: 12 children’s game series were filmed in both hemispheresabout what he calls the “hot and cold axis”.



Installing it in a maze of screens invites the visitor into the center of a cosmopolitan stadium.

Once you add the audio, it’s another story, it is necessary to adjust: the soundtrack does not co-exist easily. We’ve just stopped the install for the jump, as we’ve launched a recent game, Schneespiel (Snow Games), in Switzerland, in Engelberg, near Zurich. Its installation in a maze of screens invites the visitor into the center of a global stadiumaccompanied by a series of small portraits painted from 1994 to 2021, From Kabul to Ciudad Juarez, from Jerusalem to Shanghai, Alice’s Political Snaps.



“Once I get somewhere, my first question is: Where do the kids play? It’s a way to get into society without imposing oneself.”

For him, gambling is serious business. He doesn’t invent them, it’s the children of children he follows for days on end: “An ethnological curriculum. I photograph sources of inspiration. I sometimes aim at games I know, I’ve heard about, like very old games a Congolese game inspired by mancala (a strategy game with pebbles and shells), and this gives the appearance of a method, But it is the fruit of encounters and encounters by chance, according to my accounts. Once I get somewhere, my first question is: Where do the kids play? It’s a way to get into society without imposing yourself.”

game policy



Belgium remains “indelible” in it, recognizable, undoubtedly, by its “illustrated vision of the world”.

Francis Ellis is a political artist who embraces this life. Hear it not in the sense of a mujahid, but in the sense of a public space surveyor. He crossed the Belgian border in 1981, at the age of 22, leaving a “rather narrow” culture to travel abroad and settled in Mexico in 1986. Nevertheless, Belgium remains in it “indelible”, recognizable, undoubtedly, with a “pictorial view of the world”. Explore the many frontiers on foot, such as Moshe Dayan’s 1947 cease-fire green line, which he retraced armed with a pot of green paint with a hole in the bottom.

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From 1999 to 2022, there were 34 videos, 14 of them in the state of the epidemic.

From 1999 to 2022, there were 34 videos, 14 of them in the state of the epidemic. Since the beginningthe result of chance (Children’s Game #1: Caracoles), where a boy shoots a plastic bottle, makes it go up a Mexico City street, turns towards him and does it again relentlessly, The legend of Sisyphus guides his steps. In Peru, in 2002, he moved a mountain with a spoon, on an absurd mission (“When Faith Moves in the Mountains”). This earned this architect the title of “Architect of the Absurd” by training him. Camus wrote in The Legend of Sisyphus: “The Silly Man [cesse] to enjoy the game, [et] The soul wants to enter it. To permeate all this life, and to test it in its diversity, is to play it appropriately.”

For anthropologist David McDougall, “Many of the games are for boys or girls, the most competitive, and some cooperativeKids know how to adapt to little and adapt different environments and spaces to their goals. They create a parallel universe to the adult world, intertwining with ours but exploiting its physical resources in a completely different way.” In his way of portraying, Alÿs ensures that even the most complex rules are understood without comment.

Reduced playing area



“One of the reasons for this project is that street games are drying up because of the car, the isolation in virtual games, especially parents who no longer allow people to go outside. Unaccompanied.”

“One of the reasons for this project is that street games are drying up because of the car, the isolation in virtual games, especially parents who no longer allow people to go out unaccompanied. The public playground is designated for places where it is possible to observe. In Venice, very few camps allow children’s games…” It is the opposite of Naples where the boundaries between local and public places have been abolished in an area like SpaccanapoliThe interior extends to the street.

His outings took him to Hong Kong where he discovered games inspired by the Coronavirus: epidemic games (Hong Kong), and Contagio (Mexico City), where an “infected” child haunts others, leaving only one survivor. Others oppose these global games, so local, as in Katanga, Nzango, footbattle, or embu (“mosquito” in Swahili), a game of stalking. How do they hunt them? “Ah, it’s so extraordinary! I leave you with a surprise…”

www.belgianpavilion.be/en

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