Ragbale Ring

Lake Forest, IL
Ragdale Foundation
Competition Proposal

Ragbale Ring is a callback to the prairie of the American Midwest. It is a nod to the agricultural past and present of Illinois and the greater Midwest Region. Our proposal for the 2021 Ragdale Ring is made entirely out of hay, one of the top agricultural commodities in the state, and an intrinsic building block of our society. Hay is a low-tech material that is easily recognizable and accessible to all. We propose to design and prefabricate hundreds of hay bales at a custom, yet standard size, to make endless compositions on a multiplicity of sites on the Ragdale campus. The hay bales will be used to create a number of compositions to fit a variety of programs that the performers and visitors will be encouraged to use in their own way.

Our intention is to create a new and whimsical landscape that inspires artists and visitors to move, explore, and play. We are interested in using hay because it is a rugged and versatile material, and it gives users the license to climb, explore, sit on, and generally enjoy the installation, without worrying about damaging it. The standardized size of the hay bales,18x18x18 inches, invites anyone to manipulate the units as they wish, from slightly shifting their orientation to changing their location entirely. By utilizing the part-to-whole relationship, we can imagine that one unit can be used as a seat; three units can make a bench; seven units can make a pyramid; 13 units can make a socially distanced island; 26 units can make a stage, and so on and so forth.

Hay is a soft and homely material that draws us back to the landscape and to nature, while creating a comfortable environment for lounging, viewing, and participating in the various performances curated by the Ragdale Foundation.

Ragbale Ring was completed while a part of the design collective, table of co.

Project Team: Nimet Anwar, Omar Ali