The concept of our temporary pavilion is to create a new landscape that inspires artists and visitors to move, explore, and play. It is at play that we truly experience our mobility and our freedom, and the informality of hay lends itself directly to play and excitement. We naturally want to climb, explore, sit on, and generally enjoy this material, and it is our goal to create a space in which anyone can do just that. The size of the individual square bales (18x18x18 inches) invites anyone to manipulate the units as they wish, from shifting their orientation to changing their location entirely.
Our design stems directly from the environment for which it is made. As a nod to the agricultural past and present of Illinois and the Midwest, we have chosen to create our installation entirely out of hay, one of the top agricultural commodities in the state, and an intrinsic building block of our society.
Inherent in this is a challenge to the conventional artist-audience relationship. The informal nature of hay gives the audience member the choice of movement or stillness, of exploration or passive experience.
As this is a temporary installation, it is our priority to use materials that are environmentally sustainable; the hay we use will come from local sources and can return to use at the conclusion of the residency program. It will be held together by twine, which is entirely recyclable. This is a zero-waste project, made of biodegradable and recyclable materials, aligning with the Ragdale Foundation’s sustainability goals. Additionally, hay enriches the soil, so it will be beneficial to the ground on which it sits. Hay is a soft material that draws us back to the landscape and to nature, fitting with the Foundation’s environment of peace and inspiration.