Thomas James examines the Luzinterruptus art movement
Luzinterruptus is a Spanish artistic group, who create temporary urban interventions in public spaces. Using light as their primary component and the black of night as their canvas, the group consists of three anonymous artists from different artistic backgrounds. Interestingly, the artistic group’s name Luzinterruptus is of Latin origin and means: “Interrupted light.”
The group’s first artistic “urban intervention” took place on the streets of Madrid in 2008. The motive for it was to focus peoples’ attention on a problem they found in the city that seemed to go unnoticed. Some 50% of Madrid’s public drinking fountains have fallen into disrepair and Luzinterruptus wanted to address the city’s administration’s indifference to the need for public drinking water. With their installation, “Drinking Water Running Through The Streets,” they sought to provoke thought and highlight the issue.
To create it, 200 glass containers were collected over the course of 4 months and these were used to fill four fountains with their signature luminous work. The installation lit up the city on a cold night in January and attracted great media interest.
Another fascinating work by the collective was named “Plastic garbage guarding the museum.” Installed directly in front of the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, this featured approximately 5,000 plastic bags. They selected the most vibrant and colourful ones from those they had collected, filled each with air and lit them from within. Piled up in a dumpster, they looked more like treasures one would find in Santa’s sleigh. The installation was designed to provoke discussion about consumption and the issue of what damage not disposing of carrier bags properly does to the environment. The plastic bags deflated and deteriorated during the four-month installation and this was said to symbolise consumption and waste, as well as highlighting the damaging effects of mindless consumption. Luzinterruptus proceeded to give visitors to the exhibit an illuminated plastic bag to take away. Their aim by doing such was to: “Fill the sk[ies] with small plasticised full moons.”
Luzinterruptus’s installation “1,000 poems by mail” was created for the “2010 poetas pr Km²” Spanish poetry festival in Madrid uniting light, literature, and public space. 1,000 white envelopes, each containing a small light and a poem written by one of 17 poets, were hung in the gardens where the poetry readings and performances happened. The radiant envelopes illuminated the gardens for three days and added atmosphere to the festival – especially at night. On the final evening, the envelopes were given to the public to keep or to send to someone special. Afterwards, Luzinterruptus mailed out the envelopes with their lights still burning bright.
This summer at the Federation Square in Melbourne, Luzinterruptus placed 10,000 illuminated books, which they acquired from local libraries, across the ground during a festival dedicated to reading. They placed LED lights behind the pages of each book to illuminate the printed words. The installation entitled “Literature versus Traffic” was created to portray a winding river going along the streets of the bustling public square. “The objective was to create a symbolic gesture in which literature took control of the streets and became the conqueror of the public space,” one the anonymous artists explained.
Look out. A Luzinterruptus exhibition could be interrupting the streets of your city soon. It’ll certainly be cleverly planned and it will definitely provoke you to think about whatever issue they decide to focus on next.
View the website of Luzinterruptus at: http://www.luzinterruptus.com
View Thomas James’s blog, The Gentledaneur, at: http://thegentleman-dandy-flaneur.tumblr.com
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