exquisite corpse water tower; Chicago, IL

What if rain-collecting infrastructure mated with a surrealist chalkboard? Cropped Rotations invites the public to create art and visual mash-ups that reflect the community and its gardeners. A series of three rotatable chalkboards with human figure templates facilitate a communal exquisite corpse game. In response to the instigation “WHO GARDENS HERE?,” community gardeners are encouraged to inscribe their friends’ likenesses on the chalkboard surfaces while mix-and-matching legs, torsos, and heads. Playful glitches in the mash-up of adult-sized and kid-sized figures instigate mischief! Community-created art adorns and activates 360 degrees of space.

As a central fixture to the community garden, Cropped Rotations is also utilitarian. The exquisite corpse column is crowned with a rainwater catchment basin. Collected rainwater is channeled to irrigate the surrounding planting beds. Cropped Rotations is the focal point of the garden’s ecological and social vibrancy, linking the story of its water with the story of its people.

Project Team: Joseph Altshuler, Matthew Harlan // © CARTOGRAM 2012.