Our Wheatpaste

In order to share the multitude of markers we had created with the public, Cecily Miller proposed a method called wheatpasting – in which one mixes a combination of flour and water into a paste, and uses the created adhesive to apply paper to walls – and the Fox Library granted us permission to do so. Once chosen, Tom Starr created various design options (alternating from similar to contrasting sizes, or geometric vs more organic) – we then sorted through them and selected our final decision. Some designs were all of the same size, placed on a single line, while some had high variation in size and were scattered down a central area. When brainstorming, some suggested that markers that had already occurred at this point in time should be colored in gray – which made it into the final display, as shown below.

 

For many, this was the first time they had participated in wheatpasting – some mixed the solution of wheatpaste itself, while others cut out the paper printings of the markers. Once done, the design was held up as a blueprint while the paper was taped into position on the wall to show what it would look like in the end. In order to apply a paper marker, we painted the adhesive onto the wall – and at the same time, the marker had the same adhesive painted on its backside. The marker was then attached to the place where wheatpaste had been applied and was smoothed down. A third layer of adhesive was then painted on the top to ensure it stuck. Although quite messy, it was thoroughly enjoyable seeing our work “come to life” in a way – displayed in a semi-final setting as we had planned from the beginning.

Wheatpaste layout variation 1 - ID: An image of a brick wall on the Fox Library. There is a street sign labeled Cleveland Street in the front. On the wall, there are white circles, all the same size, and around on the same line, curving around the wall of the building. These are the climate change markers we have created. They are a little less than a foot wide each.
Wheatpaste layout variation 2 - ID: An image of a brick wall on the Fox Library. There is a street sign labeled Cleveland Street in the front. On the wall, there are white circles of different sizes– at the smallest, a width of half a foot, and the largest at around two feet. These are the climate change markers we have created. They are distributed randomly, but centered around a horizontal line in the middle of the wall.
A group of nine people standing in front of paper markers that have been wheatpasted onto it. Six are interns– the others are Tom Starr, his daughter, and Cecily Miller.They are around two feet wide on average. The first marker reads: "Arlington opens first facility to support mandatory composting - March 5, 2034". The second reads: "Dangerous temperatures break 100˚ (15 days) and 105˚ (7 days) setting new record - Summer, 2049". The third reads: "The formerly southern pine beetle kills 50 pine trees in Menotomy Rocks Park - August, 2047". The fourth reads: "Arlington holds its first ever Zero Waste Town Day - September 14, 2024". The fifth reads: "Student advocacy brings comprehensive climate crisis curriculumm to K-12 Arlington Publlic Schools - 2023". The sixth reads: "Public transit becomes free reducing traffic emissions - October [date cut off by head], 2027". The seventh reads: "First Knotweed Cafe opened here serving local and safely foraged invasive plants - June 1, 2035".