Geometry of a Ghost: Guest Lecture by Artist and scholar Wills Glasspiegel

Artist and scholar Wills Glasspiegel presents “Geometry of a Ghost,” a mixed-media lecture that surveys his films, research and community organizing with dancers and DJs in Chicago. Glasspiegel focuses on the history and future of Chicago footwork, an enduring African American battle dance and electronic music. His talk explores footwork through the art of dance filmmaking. Wills highlights his recent collaboration, Skywalkers, a permanent installation film that juxtaposes footwork and the Native American grass dance for O’hare International Airport. Wills also explores the history of Chicago footwork in Japan.

EVENT: Mixed-media lecture by artist and scholar Wills Glasspiegel 
WHEN: Thursday, June 27th, 2024; 16:50 – 18:20 (5th period)
WHERE: Aoyama Gakuin University Campus, 17511 教室 (5th floor of Building 17)
TARGET AUDIENCE: Anyone interested in dance, performance, and racial justice.

BIO: Wills Glasspiegel is an award-winning filmmaker, public artist, scholar, community organizer, and co-founder and executive director of the arts and racial justice nonprofit Open the Circle ( In 2023, he co-directed Skywalkers, a large-scale, permanent installation film. In 2021-22, Wills co-directed two projection films, Footnotes and Billiken, for Art on the Martʼs 2.5 acre projection system in downtown Chicago. The New York Times published a feature story on Footnotes, and Time Out Chicago recognized the film as “public art of the year.” Wills screens his work in a multitude of contexts, from public parks to art galleries and museums. In 2017, he co-founded Open the Circle (OTC) in Chicago. OTC channels resources into grassroots dance education projects in low-income Chicago communities, including funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacArthur Foundation. Wills spent several years working alongside electronic musicians and dancers from Sierra Leone (bubu music) and South Africa (Shangaan electro) in the late 2000s. He was a co-recipient of a Peabody Award for his contributions to the public radio program Afropop Worldwide. Wills has produced public radio segments about arts and culture for National Public Radioʼs All Things Considered and Morning Edition. He completed a PhD at Yale University in African American Studies and American Studies, with his dissertation “Geometry of a Ghost: Chicago Footwork and the Sound System Continuum.” Wills received a master’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale. He grew up in Chicago, where he lives and works today.

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