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May 25, 2022

The Useless Tool (Skate Sessions)

University of Chicago Arts

Alexis Sablone, Untitled (still). Animation. Courtesy of the artist.

Failed back tail, failed nollie crook, sketchy front nose clap clap good enough. The session is the bodies in the place and the stages underfoot. Everyone a turn. Push push the stage and each audience performs, every performer audiences. Fail, fail, repeated strange movements, shared strange rules, waiting, watching, moving. A real clean back smith properly dipped, good speed, and everybody yeahs. Community of a certain sort. Security guard interrupts. Foot traffic interrupts. See the city see the place, shared strange patience, all the watchers doing, all the doers talking. Session also is the verb, all this doing, here at the noun.

Join the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry to welcome professional skateboarder and designer Alexis Sablone, author Kyle Beachy, and performance theorist Tina Post along with FroSkate, Natty Bwoy Chicago, Timothy Johnson, Sonnenzimmer (Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi), Maxwell Neely-Cohen, Kristin Ebeling, Every house has a door (Matthew Goulish and Lin Hixson) for The Useless Tool (Skate Sessions) a day of skateboarding and conversation about skateboarding as social and embodied practice. The gathering will be inspired and guided by the structure and rhythms of the skateboard session—a communal, responsive, and open model of reciprocal engagement. The Useless Tool will involve space, sunlight, corners, surfaces, balance, bodies, images, and language.

Schedule
9:45am Coffee and skate (and doughnuts) provided
10:20 Official welcome; Alexis Sablone, Tina Post, and Kyle Beachy
10:30 Session I—skateboarding and the world; FroSkate, Kristin Ebeling, Natty Bwoy Chicago, Timothy Johnson
1pm Lunch break
2:30 Session II—skateboarding and the moving body; Every house has a door, Sonnenzimmer, Maxwell Neely-Cohen
6:30 Pizza and beverages will be provided

All attendees are encouraged to bring their boards and skate. If you do plan on skating, you will be required to sign an Acceptance of Risk Waiver when you arrive. Please read our COVID-19 Updates for current information on building access and health & safety protocols.

About the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry
The Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry is a forum at the University of Chicago for experimental collaborations between artists and scholars. Gray Center activities take place all over campus (encompassing various divisions, departments, and programs), across the community, throughout the city, and beyond. Through its various programs—including the Mellon Residential Fellowships for Arts Practice and Scholarship, Portable Gray (the center's journal published twice annually by the University of Chicago Press), exploratory research initiatives, the monthly Sidebar conversation series, Gray Sound, an experimental music and sound performance series, international conferences, and institutional collaborations—the Gray Center seeks to foster a culture of innovation and experimentation at the intersection of arts practice and scholarship.

Press contact: Mike Schuh, Gray Center Assistant Director of Fellowships and Operations, at mikes1 [​at​] uchicago.edu.

Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry
929 E. 60th St.
Chicago, Illinois 60637
United States

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