Tom Russotti in residence

Closing games:                    Saturday, November 21
1pm in Dolores Park

Institute for AesthleticsImprovisational sports residency at The Lab

Kickoff games: Saturday, October 24 at 2pm
Residency runs through: November 21
Gallery Hours: Wednesdays – Saturdays, 1- 6pm
See full schedule below.

Tom Russotti and the Institute for Aesthletics will transform The Lab into an experiment gym and sports design laboratory. The space will act as an incubator for the creation of new games, encouraging both gallery goers and the wider population to experience sports and art as a living, participatory culture. The Institute will organize both off- and onsite opportunities, using creativity-based sporting events and interactive workshops such as uniform making as community building tools. Aesthletics will activate Bay Area audiences by offering relational experiences where rules develop in real time and a native sense of play is recaptured.

The Institute for Aesthletics is dedicated to the playing of sports as an artistic practice. Aesthletics is a conscious acknowledgment of sport, especially contemporary spectator sports, as a mixture of physical activity, social interaction, movement, performance, and ritual. Aesthletics aims to unleash the great opportunities inherent in competitive contests for social rather than monetary capital. As such, aesthletics merges the language of sports with the methods and goals of participatory art to produce games that foster social interaction, deliver significant meaning and context, and promote a more creative and widespread culture of socio-physical activity. The ultimate goal of aesthletics is to create a more meaningful and socially productive method of playing physical games.

Tom Russotti examines the relationship between sport and art, as well as their functions as representatives of larger social systems. His work recontextualizes sports as a performative discipline, aiming to create more socially fulfilling collective competitive activity. He has shown and performed at the Tate Modern Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, the VAV Gallery in Montreal, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and the Conflux Festival, IgFest Bristol, and the Come Out and Play Festival. Tom’s work has been written about by CBC Canada,, the Brooklyn Rail, NY Metro Newspaper, and Courier-Life Publications. Tom received a BA in History Stanford University in 1999, and an M.F.A in visual arts from Rutgers University in 2008.


Aesthletics Schedule updated!
Saturday, October 24, 2:00pm
Mercury (Dolores Park): Opening Party with competitive art games
Saturdays, October 25 - November 21
1-5pm, Southeast corner of Dolores Park
Pickup games including Opener, Wiffle Hurling, Mercury, and Megasoccer
Sunday, November 8
1pm, Golden Gate Park
One of the fields near the tennis courts on the eastern side of the park near Stanyan and Haight
Wiffle Hurling Tournament
Friday, November 13
8pm, The Lab
Drinking and Dancing Competition (with Adonisaurus as opener and Fauxnique as guest judge) 
Saturday, November 21
1pm, Dolores Park
Closing games       

Drinking and Dancing Competition
Dancing and Drinking go hand in hand with each other, yet they are always separated on the dancefloor. The Drinking and Dancing competition merges these two harmonious activities into one competitive event- dancing while drinking a drink.  In order to score well, you need to coordinate your beverage with your dance, your partner, your music, and your liver. Stronger drinks get more points with the judges, just make sure you can make it through all the rounds! There will be two competitions, an open floor competition and a knockout tournament.
In each competition, pairs team up each with a cocktail in hand to woo the judges with their dancing and drinking skills. In each round, each dancer may select their own beverage as long as it is alcoholic. In the open floor competition, contestants will all dance to the same music, in the knockout tournament, dancers dance to their own preselected music and routines. At the end of the night two final drunken pairs will emerge as drinking and dancing champions. For more rules and/or to rsvp for the knockout tournament please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wiffle Hurling
Wiffle Hurling is a safer version of the insane Irish game of Hurling. Using wiffle bats, players try to score on a soccer goal by smacking it in with the bat. Players must advance the ball by dribbling it on the bat or by passing it.

Mercury is a sport where the rules of the game change approximately every five minutes. Starting as football, the game transforms via the Shifter, a device that may make a team field several goalies, make people run backwards, or replace the football with a ping pong ball.

Mega Soccer
Mega Soccer is a game of soccer with many more players and balls. This game will include over 40 players per team with dozens of balls.