jacob t. middleton / cow.




work

  1. breaking character
  2. cruising rhyolite
  3. performitory
  4. purple plushy catwalk
  5. holly haus
  6. chronicles out west
  7. at journey’s end
  8. made in asherton
  9. intakes/outtakes
  10. a sanctuary
  11. topdog/underdog
  12. drowning
  13. the tempest



about

  1. cow. represents a catalogue of work, a collection of whimsies, and the chronicles out west conceptualized by jacob t. middleton.
  2. the studio is interested in creating work at a variety of scales that investigates performance, explores bad taste, embraces low culture, and questions existing typologies.
  3. jacob t. middleton is a Texas native currently based in New York City. he holds a Bachelor of Architecture from The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and has studied at New York University Tisch School of the Arts in the Department of Design for Stage & Film. his work has been featured by Texas Architect Magazine, ISSUE by UTSOA, and Archisource. professionally, jacob is an architectural and broadcast set designer at Clickspring Design. previously he has collaborated with dots, Overlay Office, Magic Architecture, and Hannah Levy, among others.



contact

  1. email: jmiddleton(at)utexas.edu
  2. instagram
  3. linkedin
  4. academic portfolio

breaking character

challenging the conventions of theatrical space

An arrangement of dioramas sit nestled in a grove of trees on the West Lawn. These brightly colored objects separate themselves from the richly textured landscape of the Ragdale Campus while remaining grounded by a series of stepped platforms and projections. The arrangement of these elements sit within an implied circle which relates to Shaw’s original Ragdale Ring. A series of strewn stair-like objects are able to move freely around the installation, allowing performances, or fragments thereof, to be adjusted in their own preferred way.

breaking character seeks to challenge the conventional relationship between performer and audience by blurring the hierarchy between stage and house. Platforms and dioramas alike can function as both playing space and spaces for audiences to gather. By flattening the division between the two elements which have historically defined theatrical space – this proposal dismantles the fourth wall and challenges both artist and viewer to rethink their relationship to each other, the performance, and their surroundings.

Four dioramas present themselves as extruded primitives on a painted ground which functions as the underpinning of the project. The dioramas are articulated by bright colors, playful crowns, and a series of unique apertures informed by sightlines. Each opening has the possibility to serve as a window into performances, allowing an audience member to take ownership in their perception. These openings are covered in a fibrous turf which adds to the tactile whimsy of the proposal. Through these articulations, each diorama begins to assume a “character” which informs the way spectators interact with the architecture surrounding them and how performances are programmed.

A series of flattened backdrops correspond to the dioramas found on the Ragdale campus and will be used for satellite and pop-up performances in the Chicagoland metropolitan area. These backdrops will feature a large-format QR code for audience members to scan – linking them to the story of each diorama’s character, subsequent and other satellite performances, and information on the full experience at the Ragdale Ring.

Special care has been taken for each component of the installation to perform multiple functions. Through a conscientious reduction of parts, an economy of design is employed to build something complex through simple construction techniques. All materials will be carefully sourced with attention to recycled content and renewable resources. Following the installation, the fabrication team will disassemble breaking character and recycle its materials. The team intends to donate dioramas and step-units to underserved community institutions including, but not limited to, local churches, theaters, schools, and libraries. Pieces that cannot be recycled in whole will be dismantled and donated as raw materials for these institutions to use how they see fit. It is our hope that the proposal will live a second life and continue to serve local communities.


project information
location: lake forest, illinois
date: 2022
type: research, performance, scenic design, competition


credits
project team: abigail coover, jacob t. middleton, davis richardson

breaking character seeks to challenge the conventional relationship between performer and audience by blurring the hierarchy between stage and house 





an arrangement of dioramas sit nestled in a grove of trees on the West Lawn -- these brightly colored objects separate themselves from the richly textured landscape of the Ragdale Campus while remaining grounded by a series of stepped platforms and projections







three axons detail construction and potential performance arrangments


each opening has the possibility to serve as a window into performances, allowing an audience member to take ownership in their perception. these openings are covered in a fibrous turf which adds to the tactile whimsy of the proposal.

       

a series of flattened backdrops correspond to the dioramas found on the Ragdale campus and will be used for satellite and pop-up performances in the Chicagoland metropolitan area

following the installation, the fabrication team will disassemble breaking character and recycle its materials. the team intends to donate dioramas and step-units to underserved community institutions including, but not limited to, local churches, theaters, schools, and libraries