Piles and piles of discarded cardboard boxes on their way to the recycling center found new life at Concrete Couch’s exhibit as community-built artwork during this weekend’s What If festival in downtown Colorado Springs. Kids and adults came together to help us turn those unwanted boxes and cardboard scraps into three beautiful towers. Some pieces were colored with markers, chalk or crayons, others were decorated with bits of string or other discarded items and still more were cut into fanciful designs like animals, houses and geometric shapes. Then, the items were strung together along three central lines suspended from a rope between two trees. The tree bark was protected by Styrofoam pool “noodles.” As the towers grew, their center lines were hoisted higher up into the air until they reached the summit—the top center line—stretching approximately twenty feet high. As the towers grew, participants hung more cardboard art off their edges with metal wire like ornaments or chimes, twisting and turning in the wind.
There were plenty of box trolls in the crowd too, either building their box houses or hiding inside of them. They were eventually incorporated into the bases of the towers (the houses, not the box trolls) to give the towers weight and drag at the bottom so that they didn’t take flight in the wind. Plus there were poets and artists, brightening everyone’s day with happy images and words of encouragement.
Heidi spent a lot of time building a house out of several boxes. She cut windows and doors into it and stitched the whole thing together with duct tape and bailing wire. Then she decorated it with art and found objects to help make the western-most tower really stand out.
Evan put some serious engineering effort into creating a cardboard prism and decorated it with art and poetry. It was hung from its ends on the center tower low enough that people could turn the prism to see the art and words on each side. Great job, Evan!