Show Promise: “Game With No Rules” by Andriy Sydorenko

30 June 2017

The wide use of the word “simulation” as a term led to naming a learning process or a children’s game “the simulation of reality”. But when children play war, something else happens; if this is even a simulation of reality, no one can prevent learning from it.

Andriy Sydorenko Game With No Rules

What would such game teach children in the country where war is ongoing? To engage in warfare or to live beside the danger of war? How real is the danger of war cult in this case? It is obvious that the danger of glorifying war emerges in reality created by adults, not in a children’s game. The children who were lucky not to see the war can hardly be aware of what they play, just like the adults next to them.  

Andriy Sydorenko Game With No Rules

What do we do then? Do we make a forbidden fruit out of war symbols, do we interrupt children’s game with rude intervention and serious talk, or do we leave everything as it is – along with the obsessive fear of unexpected result?

Martin Heidegger has a concept of fear and terror, according to which fear is always based on specific threat one can foresee or recognize, and terror is the consternation in front of the unknown, i.e. the danger one cannot understand. Such terror is possible if everything you know about war is children’s game, or even worse – when you don’t even know the game. This does not allow us to consider the game with a symbolic danger positively useful, but doesn’t let us to believe it is totally harmful, either.

That is why there are two unsolved issues remaining here: do children have the right to choose a game able to spur terror among adults, and how dangerous is the transformation of war artefacts into an amusement ride?


The video was filmed in 2016 in Kyiv, in Peremoha park dedicated to World War II. 

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