Children’s Game #18: Knucklebones

Kathmandu, Nepal, 2017; 6:08 min
In collaboration with Julien Devaux, Félix Blume, and the Kathmandu International Art Festival


Knucklebones, or jacks, has existed for more than 2000 years and was first played with the astralagus bones of a sheep. This version –played with stones by two girls seated on the landing of a concrete stairway, people’s legs and occasional monkeys passing by– is close to the Korean Gonggi, with no separate ball. The turn begins by throwing a stone in the air and performing certain actions with the four others before catching it again. Later all are tossed up and received, at least some, on the back of the same hand. Pick-ups are sometimes between splayed fingers. The film blurs the logic of any sequence, dwelling on the leaping, clattering stones, and the agility of dusty hands.

Lorna Scott Fox

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