Today we’re going back in time for those who, like us, would have missed this impressive and ephemeral artistic installation that illuminated and animated downtown Toronto during the night of October 1st, 2016.
The anonymous group of artists Luzinterruptus took 12 days and gathered 50 volunteers to cover Hagerman Street in downtown Toronto with nearly 10,000 books, all donated by the Salvation Army. Among those, some were surprisingly old and were part of private donations.
The installation, named “Literature vs. Traffic”, had already been illegally carried out in Madrid and New York but obtained the authorization of Melbourne to perform there. This time, the artists were invited to the event “Nuit Blanche Toronto 2016” in order to reproduce the experience.
Luzinterruptus confirms that in 5 years “The meaning of this piece has not changed as the battle between pedestrians and vehicles still goes on in most of the world’s large cities and it is hard to find real, workable solutions. Despite the efforts on the part of some cites to reduce downtown traffic, they can only go as far as to create a Car-free day in order to have an idea as to how we would live without them”. The collective adds on its website: “We want literature to take over the streets and conquer public spaces, freely offering those passersby a traffic-free place which, for some hours, will succumb to the humble power of the written word”.
Hagerman Street was closed for one night and replaced the come-and-go of cars by hundreds of pedestrians moving between illuminated books, resulting in a magic and impressive ballet. Passers-by were free to consult the books at their own pace and to choose the ones they would take home in order to preserve a small piece of this lively and interactive work. It took them only 10 hours to empty the street almost completely and, in the early morning, finally give it back to road traffic.
Who knows, if this event comes back in a (very) distant future, perhaps one day there will be blooks among a myriad of other lighted books!