The #sawOfeve appeared Saturday on what used to be Joshua Street. It will migrate through the neighborhood until Dec. 28.
Spencer Turner has lived in various parts of Richmond, but fell in love with the old houses, craftsmanship and character of the Battery Park and Barton Heights neighborhoods. Since relocating to the North Side, Turner, co-founder and executive director of the Virginia Center for Latin American Art, has launched a social media campaign called BPRVA to give residents a forum to share their experiences, frame the heritage of the community and give new value to an old place.
Turner's immediate project, #sawOfeve, kicked off Saturday (Nov. 30). It uses a rusty saw as a motif in a collaborative art installation. The saw will migrate to different locations in the community every Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. Turner will announce the coordinates online the day before and then the scavenger hunt to photograph the saw and share the images on Instagram will begin. The images will be curated through social media and compiled into a collage that will be featured in an art show called “New Relics for the Old Acrimony” on Jan. 24 from 7 to 10 p.m. at 1212 Gallery in Plant Zero.
The #sawOfeve, as Turner calls it, wears its age much like the smattering of decayed buildings in the Battery Park vicinity. The saw is a mascot, an icon of good design, something that, if taken care of, can be long-lasting. "That's what human relationships, well-designed communities are about," he says.
Turner, who salvaged the saw on a day of exploring a dumpster for recyclable items, says, "I love tools, particularly ones that have not changed much over time. They stay relevant because they reflect some deep, almost mathematical truth, an ideal state." Rather than glossing over the rust and losing the transcendent beauty of decay, Turner explains the saw as a local icon of progressive urban ideas, a reminder for residents to respect where they call home.
Through this project, Battery Park will serve as an intersection of ideas relating to nostalgia and change simultaneously. Turner says that the #sawOfeve project can act as a catalyst to prompt community engagement and unite groups in the area that have historically remained disparate.
"My ultimate goal is to facilitate the creation of an entirely community-run magazine in which the content is produced by community members about the community," he says. As the #sawOfeve provokes themes of recycling by repurposing misbegotten items, Turner aims to inspire the people to strengthen their lives through involvement that can eventually improve the shared environment.
With #sawOfeve, Turner says, "I wanted to encourage artists to put their own perspective on it, to suggest different ways to see the same thing, to look at our public spaces — to show where they come from, who they are." Turner says this project allows anyone to take on the role of an artist, and to "look deeper — use their phones as a tool to deepen their relationship with the world."