CHARLOTTE, N.C. Admittedly, chain link is its most prominent feature. But don’t mistake it for the barricades that slice and dice uptown Charlotte.
This is a sculpture – or the beginning of one.
Stretching 60 feet along one edge of Legacy Village on South Tryon Street, it’s the skeleton of “Recycling/Reseeing,” which will turn water bottles, posters and other detritus of the Democratic National Convention into an artwork.
It’s starting to flesh out. Bottles stick up from the fencing here and there, stuck by their necks into its holes. Along the ground, tubes normally used as concrete molds now display posters left over from Sunday’s demonstrations:
IT’S TIME TO BUILD PEOPLE POWER
SAVE SATURDAY MAIL DELIVERIES
MAKE OUT NOT WAR
STOP FORECLOSURES AND EVICTIONS
END THE OCCUPATIONS NOW
“It’s going to take on more and more character as the time goes by,” says Antonio Martinez, who helped design and build the chain-link canvas.
Martinez, an architect, is part of the Quasimodo Project, a band of Charlotte creative people who took the DNC as their cue to plant arts projects uptown for the week. They’ve posted QR codes – those pixilated squares that cellphones read – along Tryon Street, linking viewers to online artworks. They’ve turned the 12-story exterior of UNC Charlotte’s Center City Building at Ninth and Brevard streets into a video screen for projections starting at 8:30 each night.
They see an array of meanings in “Recycling/Reseeing.” As it develops, it will dramatize the sheer amount of cast-off material that’s a byproduct of the convention, Martinez said. It will take chain link, which everyone associates with barriers, and give it a new purpose.
With 60 feet of irregularly shaped panels attached so they seem to twist and fold, it’s a giant hybrid of chain link and origami. When the sunshine hits the bottles, architect Faron Franks points out, it breaks into colors. The brighter the light, the more crystalline the bottles appear.
Beginning when Martinez followed Sunday’s protesters and gathered their castoffs, the sculpture’s creators have been foraging uptown.
They plan to turn the sculpture into a timeline of the convention, as recorded by its leftovers. They’ll also look for a permanent home for “Recycling/Reseeing.”
First, they’re inviting the public to pitch in. Franks put out a call asking people who explore Legacy Village – adjacent to the Gantt Center – to contribute their “good trash.”
“Political literature,” he said. “DNC-related materials. Stuff they’d like to have saved. Because this stuff will be saved.”