The summer project „the Arch“ was all about creation – the abstract idea of building a wooden structure, to actually be able to live inside of it, manifesting a collective vision with a lot of helping hands. The life in the Arch itself comes with creating useful things for the daily life, like a tajine made in the fire kitchen workshop. On another layer, life itself creates invisible things as well – connections to the surrounding people, some of them who come again and again to become part of the project themselves.
But let’s get back to the visible stuff: one part of the program of the Arch was the plastic workshop, in which people could make their own plastic tiles from recycled bottle caps, which later on became part of the remaining plastic arch and in that way function as a memorial of one unique summer.
To collect the bottle caps, we used different ways: People could collect them at home and donate them directly to the Arch or at the Bottle Cap Station Saint Plastic (created by our collaborators YA+K, Paris) at a supermarket close by. In plus, they could be donated at the Plastic Bike – a mobile spot, so to say our promotion vehicle. Thanks to a local bike workshop we could borrow the tricycle which we pimped the archy way (probs to Amandine!! The queen of graphic). For a greater visibility, we figured out a route through the city with several stops at certain places, most likely frequented locations and events like the weekly flea market in the city center, the soccer arena, children’s playgrounds in the neighborhood, the tennis courtyard and the little food & shop street around the corner. Due to these stations, it was possible to easily connect to the people, who eventually would pay their visit at the Arch later on. Also it helped to become part of the city, to show that „we exist“.
Step by step the tour evolved, we took the weekly printed program of the Arch with us, including times of events like movie nights, lectures and workshops. Also we used the tricycle to exhibit recycled plastic objects which were produced in earlier plastic workshops, teasing people’s curiosity.
From time to time magic happened and the bike became a gelato bike, distributing cold and gently melting happiness…
With time we also connected to the local cafes, bars and restaurants, asking them to collect bottle caps for the plastic tiles, which we would collect on the weekly bike routes.
During the highlight of the Zomerwerf – the „Building Festival“ – eager volunteers came along the bike tours to get an additional impression of the city of Genk itself; on top of the building site lifestyle, this was an interesting piece of observation for all people concerned.
the Arch: home base
Food & Shops: Local Turkish bakery, friendly people, sharing tea and stories
Tennis club: Families who spend their afternoon in a sporty way, some of them use their break to take a look at the funky Arch bike!
Streets in the neighborhood: Families start to get used to the routine and get their collected bottle caps ready before the bike even arrives. One time, two little boys came along on there mountain bikes, eagerly willing to help with dropping the fresh Arch flyers into the surrounding mailboxes! Them cuties…
Soccer Arena: We see the chance to collect tons of caps – lots of thirsty spectators means lots of empty drinks! Unfortunately it turns out that all of the caps inside of the arena are already donated for a charity foundation for guide dogs: The foundation collects plastic caps to sell them to recycle companies, the money is used to support the training of guide dogs for the visually impaired or handicapped – all the better.
Saint Plastic: YA+K (Paris) took the meaning of „cathedral“ – that is the visual reference of the Arch -to another level. Plastic caps are the new coins. You won’t get a candle in return though, but you can still come and make your personal plastic tile in the papa cathedral the Arch… Located directly next to the biggest supermarket around. Go shopping – drop your caps. easy plasteasy!
Weekly Flea Market: Families, Teens, Treasure Hunters… All kinds of people wander around flea markets. And all kinds of things they can find there – the rolling arch is one of them. Sunday mood, easy to chat with people, sometimes even sunny weather. Spreading special little Arch presents once in a while…
Weekly Food Market: Busy vegetable sellers, some of them generously feeding us with fresh veggies / left overs.
C-Mine: The other big mine of the City of Genk. This one is already living up thanks to a cinema inside of the former machine hall and a superb labyrinth made from steel, a mixture of art and architecture. Especially at night a fun thing to experience! Plus, there are bars and a museum on the site. Thumbs up! We hand out flyers to attract visitors to also check out the underdog of mines, which is now populated by archists…
The Battle of Thor: Right through the front yard of the Arch goes the route of a spectacular mud run, teasing the strongest men and women to compete against each other, to fight for honor and pride. Exhaustment provokes thirst, so we bring along that collectors attitude and see what we can get.
Classic Summer Meet Oldtimer Event: Turns out that directly next to the Arch a massive old-time event takes place. We can make some of the food stands collect their caps for us, additionally we let the movable collection bike do the rest, inviting people to drop their caps.
Sarah LindnerThe Arch