The Inverted Picture Show


{Re}Happening , Lake Eden, 2014

The Inverted Picture Show was a project conceived by Jason Clements, my Co-Director at The Asheville Darkroom from April 2013-2014. The concept was to create a camera obscura which, rather than create photographs, would attach to a lit performance stage that would function at night. Viewers inside the camera witnessed a dramatic performance, accompanied by music, which they selected based on a “Choose Your Own Adventure” method. The actors enacted 1 of 12 possible performances based on the audience’s choices of props, location, and timeframe.

In the true sense of collaboration inspired by Black Mountain College, the team consisted of myself (advisor for optics, design, and general planning), Eric Velleca (metalsmith, equipment supplier, and designer), Alison Tippins (actor, script-writer), Samantha Stewart (actor, script-writer), and Dylan Suter (clarinetist).

The project took five months of planning, and lasted for a mere five hours on the night of April 5, 2014. People lined up for over an hour in some cases to watch two performances of their choosing totaling about seven minutes, and agreed to be blindfolded beforehand so their eyes could adjust to the low-light situation. It was the most extensive collaboration I have been involved in, and extremely rewarding to due to the bonds created and the ties to the legacy of Black Mountain College. Due to the circumstances of the evening and the lighting conditions, we were unable to photograph any of the actual performances. Jason finds this fitting given the event’s ephemeral qualities — the performances exist only in the memory of the viewer/participants.