2018 - 2019
SK8scapes, Ucanskate, Monkey Skateboards, F*ck La Migra, Laboratorio para la Ciudad
Hesner Sánchez, T.H.O.T.H, Mike Maese
Anónima (design), SK8scapes (supervision), Distrito Industrial (construction)
Check out all of the events hosted in Skatelab here
Museo Tamayo (Mexico City, Mexico)
Taller Tamayo, Fundación Olga y Rufino Tamayo, Central de Muros, ArtCenter College of Design
Skatelab (Laboratorio de skate) was a project that temporarily appropriated an unused pavillion in the back of a museum, creating a space dedicated to play and skating to explore the contemporary culture of skateboarding in Mexico City. It was an initiative that launched as part of my three month residency at Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, a contemporary art museum located in Mexico City.
The architecture of Skatelab was deliberately minimalistic, serving as an alternative if not an antithesis to the rise of skatepark construction in Mexico City. Designed to be adapted towards experimentation, expansion and appropriation, the space was equipped with only a few permanent elements and the rest consisted of temporary objects and things that could be appropriated for skating.
The goal of Skatelab was two-fold:
(1) Investigate how large-scale and institutional urban design initiatives such as the construction of state-of-the-art skateparks, which create highly scripted and programmed play spaces, effectively deprive skaters of their ability to exercise their spatial and creative agency in public spaces: the streets, plazas, sidewalks, parks and the act of appropriating of other unused, abandoned and/or forgotten spaces.
(2) Create a channel through which non-institutional actors, such as skaters, can enter and creatively occupy spaces with institutional power, such as museums, and develop new working relationships in between.
Skatelab also contributed to creating different social dynamics with the public or non-skaters, most visible in the ways through which the passerby in the park started to occupy the space for recreational and entertainment purposes (such as playing on the ramps without using a skateboard, or simply coming to Skatelab to watch skaters skate). The museum produced rules, policies, and signages in reaction to the new socio-spatial relations produced through the act of skaters entering institutional spaces.
On February 25th 2019, the Skatelab ramps were passed onto Veronica, an extremely talented young Mexican skater. She plans to open her own skate school for youth. The spirit of Skatelab continues to grow and hopes to take on other forms of design practices inside and outside of cultural institutions.
Photo credits: Reina Imagawa, Hesner Sánchez, Ernesto Rosas, Miguel Rojas Rea, and Baruch Berrera
A special thanks goes out to all of the skaters, the artists, and the many photographers and videographers who have documented this experience and helped make it possible; my skate mentors Hesner Sánchez, Martin Núñez, Erik Carranza and Oyuki Matsumoto, and Caleb Gutiérrez who supported the crucial maintenance of the ramps; and last but not least, my extremely supportive team at Taller Tamayo including Manuel Alcalá, Brenda Garcia and Eva Cardenas to name a few.