Sunday20 August 2017

The Eames circus comes to town

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BD looks back to when Ray Eames picked up the RIBA Gold Medal


Date June 15 1979
Subject Ray Eames
Location RIBA, 66 Portland Place

With the film Eames: The Architect & the Painter currently playing in UK cinemas, we look back to the occasion on which Ray Eames picked up the RIBA Gold Medal — from the then pres-ident Gordon Graham — on the couple’s behalf. While offering a celebration of the Eameses’ work together, the event had a strongly retrospective tone on account of Charles’ death the previous summer.

Ray’s talk incorporated a selection of the slide shows, employing multiple carousels and recorded soundtracks, that were one of the office’s most original outputs.

They included one titled The Circus, which tells the story of a conservative society, with little spontaneity or self-expression, being brought to life with pictures
of cartwheels, tentpegs, watering buckets, shoes, seats, movements and applause.

Photographs of the ruined city of Timgad in Algeria leapt from past to present while the accompanying dialogue was drawn from letters between Emperor Trajan and Pliny the Younger.


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