April 29, 2012

Bottle Cap Installation

Thank you for all of your inspirations with the bottle cap murals you've been making. To try to link all of your work would be impossible (since it's not on my pinterest) so please feel free to put a link in the comments for other artists. I am going to be putting my spin on the project in the next few days with my students. I knew I didn't have the time or the support to create the magnificent pieces I'd been seeing (as I notice most of you screwed in every single bottle cap whew!) So the idea evolved from a mural to a temporary installation.

This Tuesday in the center of our school we got permission to create a temporary BOTTLE CAP INSTALLATION on the floor. It's really a cool space which I'll try to describe to you. It is an open area with three story high ceilings with skylights and stairs leading down and up. There are also stairs on either side so when we close off the center area for the installation there is plenty of room for classes. The space was original conceived as a place for performers. The kids can sit on the stairs and it is like a theater in the round. Alas we don't have a budget for performers (nor enough art supplies which is part of the reason we reuse a lot) and when anyone comes to the school we try to get in as many kids to see them as possible. This space will only fit two classes at a time. 
It is a BEAUTIFUL space. But a DEAD space. 

As an artist seeing this space with form but no function has been driving me crazy for years.
I've been daydreaming about doing an art installation in this space for a long time.

We've been saving caps for an entire year. Now we are going to create a radial design installation on the floor with the caps. Our Green Team (that the PE teacher and I lead) is going to do it all in a two hour period (HOPEFULLY) and we invited the newspaper. We prepped the kids last week by showing them the work of the amazing Victor Muniz as seen in Wasteland (we only showed the accompanying art work and then the trailer, the whole movie is something that would be "up to" parents of the older students). And we reviewed radial symmetry (a concept I introduced in art class already.)

Victor Muniz's work is amazing. If you haven't seen the movie see it! Basically, Muniz, is a super famous artist who goes back to his home town in Brazil to work with the poorest in the community to create art. He works with the "pickers" or people who collect recycling at the dump to earn money. The job is dirty and dangerous but it has dignity. The people pride themselves on earning money in a legitimate way by RECYCLING. They make it very clear that they work with recyclable materials not garbage. Muniz photographs the pickers and a small group recreate their portraits out of recyclables. Then Muniz photographs the giant portraits. The photographs exist as the final art work and are sold in galleries for more money then these people ever dreamed of. When the work is complete most can never imagine going back to picking and some dream bigger. One man creates a library for the community, he himself is an avid reader and finds many of the books at the landfill. I love this detail because it shows the kids how far people will go to have an education. We are so fortunate to live in the USA and have the opportunity of public education and resources all around us.

I will let you know first, my Green Team group is higher level. So we challenge them, A LOT! This year they created a raise bed garden, went on field trips across the state to "green" related places, created recipes with a professional chef (my husband:) and now this bottle cap mural. 

Please wish me luck and any advice as I have never organized a radial design mural before!

Here's my idea, start at the center, let three kids in at a time with a bag full of caps, let them build out from the center. I want it to be a performance in itself, so I'm going to film it with a stop animation ap on my phone and also my video camera (just in case) I think I'll play music and make a rule no talking. Seeing the art develop and respecting each others additions may be a little easier without words. 

Let me know if you have any thoughts or have done this sort of collaborative work before.

Sorting and getting ready for the installation!

Bottle caps are NOT recyclable in our city!
First we will have a center in the art room where students can work on creating their own bottle cap temporary art (very simply they will place the colors on predesigned pictures)
Second, we will save them for next year and hopefully get enough parents interested through the temporary installation to invest some time in screwing down a permanent mural for our garden.


Unknown said...

I can't wait to see the finished project! Erica, you are such a good art teacher! With baby Stella and your husband, I don't know how you find the time to do so much for your students! You rock!


Angie said...

I love the idea of a temporary installation! I do think you could make a permanent installation without screwing in each bottle cap. There are really great adhesives that could be used.

Kristin said...

OOh I can't wait to see it when it's done! If you get kids wondering about the purpose of a temporary art installation, show them some Buddhist monks painstakingly making a sand mandala (tons of video clips on youtube) and then blowing it all away to represent the impermanence of life. kids are always floored by this!!

Mrs. Hahn said...

I have an art festival this summer in mid June. Do I have timet o get caps together? The theme is mosaics. Could I have the community help with one of these? What are you using for the adhesive of the caps? email me when you have time. Thanks!


Katie Morris said...

That sounds so cool. I love it. I can't wait to see the results! I decided to just keep on collecting so we can make more panels next year. I know that our bottle cap artwork won't last forever with hot glue but it's what seemed the most doable to us.

Mrs.Hahn, see if your lunch room people will help! I think most schools have moved from paper cartons to plastic bottles. We got red, pink, and green caps from school.