A Kansas University sculpture student has frozen the beauty of a popular campus landmark.
For a project in a public art class, Wichita senior Matthew Farley has constructed a display of plastic water bottles on the Chi Omega Fountain to make it appear the water is suspended in the freezing Kansas air.
“It’s an iconic feature of the campus, and I think it’s important to recognize what we have here on campus in terms of artwork,” said Matthew Farley, creator of “Frozen Assets.” “So it’s a really nice thing to have this kind of connection with.”
Farley’s project is meant to draw attention to water use and the environment. The bottles were collected in less than one week by KU Recycling staff members.
As part of his presentation, Farley mentions how much oil and water consumption is used to produce bottled water.
He said in 2007, KU students purchased 437,000 bottles on water on campus, and instead he advocates for people to have reusable water bottles. California-based company EcoUsable Inc. has helped sponsor Farley’s project.
For the project, he attached hundreds of clear water bottles to rebar to mimic water flowing from the center of the fountain, which was a gift from the Chi Omega sorority in 1955. Water does not flow in the fountain during the winter.
It looks like a frozen fountain from afar, especially with snow on the ground, but Farley’s counting on people taking a closer look.
“They might see that it is bottles, and that would hopefully make them think about the way they use water,” Farley said.
He had already assembled the bottles, and he put the sculpture in place Monday night. He had to gain permission to install the work from a public art committee on campus along with the KU Facilities and Operations and the sorority.
It will be in place until February.
“I wanted to approach the idea of a fountain and what that could mean and how it might be related to the way we consume water,” said Farley, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts this month.