The Atlanta BeltLine is a decade-long city project that will, if all goes planned, result in a 22-mile uninterrupted loop of hiking trails, park space, and energy-efficient mass transit around the city center. For Atlanta, located in a state where urban development is probably below mosque building in the list of government priorities, that’s quite something to look forward to. More effort has gone into the construction of this project than I’d realized in the few years since I read about the idea one day on a break from shelving copies of The Secret at whichever local big box bookselling superstore in which I worked at the time.
For the third year, an organization calling themselves Art on the Atlanta BeltLine has enlisted local artists to create projects for a three-month free outdoor exhibit along the BeltLine’s under-construction corridors.
I am one of these artists. As interested as I was in doing a solo art project that would actually be observed by people who aren’t my friends visiting my little blog because I ask them to on facebook, I didn’t expect to get in. But my proposal was accepted, and more than that, these people actively seem to really like this idea. I mean, I’m into it, but all these other people too? That’s just… that’s awesome.
I’ve begun the process of constructing a 6′x4′ tangible map of the center of the city that includes the BeltLine, composed of repurposed, recycled artificial materials for the human elements of the city (for instance, bike tires stretched out as the city’s main roads and beer bottle caps for buildings in bar neighborhoods like EAV) and a continuously growing moss medium covering the more natural areas of the city, including parks, tree-lined neighborhoods, and the BeltLine itself.
The coverage so far:
This is the actual backing of the map itself, which will eventually be covered in trash & moss that will show you where you are, so to speak. I’ve divided the surface into 24 squares that are likewise traced over a map of the area I’m using. It’s certainly not intended to display every street, business, or backyard shed, but it will be as accurate within its scope as possible.
Some of the materials I’ve gathered so far that will be transformed into neighborhoods, rail lines, and skyscrapers. And my cat.
Testing different recipes for the moss medium: the uppermost third is a mixture of buttermilk, beer, moss, and sugar. The second coat is the same mixture with two tablespoons of moss-specific water retention gel (ordered specially from the internet!) and another handful of moss clumps. The third coat will hopefully be another improvement and a step towards ensuring I can ensure this map will be mostly alive. Which likely won’t be a problem anyway considering how many ants & flies are already very happy about the prospect of free buttermilk, sugar, and beer.