Children’s Game #27: Rubi

Tabacongo, DR Congo, 2021; 6:17 min
In collaboration with Julien Devaux and Félix Blume


With all the charm of flick soccer, Subbuteo, pinball, and other miniature passions, this is played on a small circle of stubby broken-off sticks like a frontier fort buried in the sand, enclosing two facing, immobile teams also made of little sticks. Resembling two giants crouched over cavernous goals, the competitors take quickfire turns thumbing a marble, careful not to touch anything else. The successful marble shoots in from the side or arcs with precision through the air. For a penalty, it is balanced on top of the defending palisade. Close-ups on fans, rapt faces and dusty feet, bare or in the moulded sandals that protect knees as often as feet. The ring of attention is bisected by a chicken scooting straight through people, the exact centre of the arena, people, and out, as if performing a dare.

Lorna Scott Fox

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