Kumu National Museum of Estonia
Tallinn, Estonia, Fall, 2014

In 2014, as the Institute was tweaking its meta tags for its website and YouTube videos, we would get annoyed when a search for “new sports” would yield numerous poorly shot videos of people in their backyards dribbling a basketball with a lacrosse stick et al., and none of our poorly shot videos of us doing equally inane activities, albeit in a more organized and purposeful manner. We even found one video of a kid who basically just reads the rules of a new sport he made on camera, clearly having never even played the game himself. As we watched this video, our resentment turned into curiosity, and further into admiration. This boy, Ian Luciano, had invented a complicated and delightfully ridiculous new sport, Bootball, complete with field diagrams, position charts, and even an organizational model, with the National Bootball League at the top of an extensive Bootball league hierarchy. Since this game requires sixteen people, and it seemed Ian only had one brother, the only thing he could not do was actually play Bootball.

That is where we decided to step in. We could play test the sport, film it, and report back to this young sport inventor. We gathered the necessary equipment, basically a lot of balls, and headed to Burlington VT for a festival where we would play the game. Alas rain forced a cancellation, which ultimately turned into a blessing. The next week I went to Estonia to do an education project with their national art museum. During the project we were contacted by Estonian TV, who wanted to make a short segment on my residency. This would be the perfect time to play the game, on Estonian TV! We visited a local school that was participating in the museum project and quickly taught them Bootball right before the camera crew arrived. The young Estonians picked up the game with ease, and the filming went smoothly. As soon as the clip came online, we posted it on Ian's wall- where he was utterly shocked to see children halfway across the world playing his game. He even got written up in his local paper for his inspiring of Estonian school children to play Bootball. We also organized a performance of Bootball at Kumu as the culmination of the residency: the perfect ending to a great project. We look forward to playing Bootball again, and we look forward to collaborating with Ian on future new sports!
Students playing at Lagne Gymnasium
Final performance of Bootball at Kumu Museum