Living Picture

LIVING PICTURE makes a scene. Digital imagery depicting the original Ragdale Ring maps onto lightweight objects stacked and arrayed around the site. This layered imagery expands the boundary of the proscenium, drawing audience members into the space of performance. Living Picture has been selected for the 2017 Adrian Smith Prize for the Ragdale Ring.

Blending a historic scene with its contemporary counterpart, Living Picture recreates Howard Van Doren Shaw’s 1912 garden stage design—the low limestone wall, columns topped with fruit baskets, and the lush landscape of trees and hedges that formed the stage’s proscenium, wings, and backdrop—as digital imagery and reinserts this imagery into the trees and buildings of the current Ragdale estate. The effect is a vivid visual space where images and objects overlap, align, and misregister. Members of the audience become performers as they weave between the scenic objects and sit on platforms at their base. A taller grouping of objects draws attention toward the stage where the historic imagery merges with the natural surrounds, placing the performer in a state of theatrical suspension—between past and present, between reality and artifice.

Living Picture is sited at the convergence of three key approaches—from the Ragdale House, from the parking lot, and from the Barn House. Visitors traveling along each path encounter a view of the historic Ragdale Ring, reconstructed as digital imagery overlaid onto large stacked objects. The clearest image of the original Ring appears when one approaches from the House, creating a connection between Ragdale’s past and its current visitors. This unified picture breaks down as one enters the seating area and perceives the images spread across multiple objects.

Living Picture is built in the same way as conventional awnings—a lightweight aluminum frame wrapped in printed fabric. Awnings are designed for outdoor use and can withstand rain, wind, and sun; they are lightweight, yet sturdy, allowing us to create large-scale objects in simple shapes while maintaining ease of maneuvering and installation.

Project Leads: Ellie Abrons, Adam Fure, Meredith Miller, Thom Moran

Design Team: Kristen Gandy, Reid Mauti, Nick Kim, Annemaria Groenhaut

Consultants: Shane Darwent, Jasen Falahee

T+E+A+M is grateful to the Ragdale Foundation for selecting this project for the 2017 Adrian Smith Prize. We look forward to the residency and to building the stage environment for this year’s public programming.