A touch of glass

We know recycling is the right thing to do, but it does not usually offer visceral satisfaction. 

A group of designers has created a way to recycle glass by throwing beer bottles against a wall.  As part of DesignPhiladelphia, “Glassphemy” will be at the Crane Arts Building through the weekend.

The installment features a contraption that looks a lot like a carnival dunking booth, where someone sits suspended above a tank of water and you throw a ball at a target to send that person into the drink. But Glassphemy puts your friend, enemy or loved one behind a sheet of bullet-proof glass while you hurl glass bottles at their head as hard as you can.

Nobody gets hurt, and the broken glass is swept into a kiln for remelting. The 30-foot long chamber was designed in part by David Belt of Brooklyn, who came up with the idea while attending a design conference in Philadelphia a year ago.

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“Recycling has gotten so boring in recent years, there’s all this mendacity around the message of recycling,” says Belt. “To do any kind of play on that is blasphemy, that’s we call this ‘Glassphemy’.”

Those who never had the moxie to throw glass bottles before say it is a forbidden thrill. Those on the other side of the bullet-proof glass say watching a beer bottle rocket toward their face evokes a primal fear. Belt says it’s a psychological recycling center.

“You recycle both your glassware as well as deeply rooted relationship issues,” he says.

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