Listening to Art

01.09: Luzinterruptus, Literature vs. Art in Toronto

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Listening to Art, by William Denton.

Volume one, number nine: Literature vs. Traffic in Toronto by Luzinterruptus.

Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.

This block-long installation was on view on a city street for the one night of Nuit Blanche in Toronto in October 2016. Nuit Blanche is an all-night arts festival that is run annually in many different cities around the world, and has been done in Toronto, where I live, since 2006. It starts at sunset and ends at sunrise. Many major streets are made pedestrian-only for the night. The exhibits could be large or small, inside or outside, quiet or loud, participatory or not. People move from one area of the city to another, taking in what catches their attention. It is always an interesting night, full of adventure and unexpected occurrences.

Luzinterruptus is an anonymous Spanish group who had set up Literature vs. Traffic previously in Madrid and New York (illegally) and Melbourne (legally). They say on their web site:

It made a lot of sense to do it again in Toronto since they have quite apparent traffic issues.

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.

This was our message more than five years ago:

“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.

“Thus, a city area which is typically reserved for speed, pollution and noise, will become, for one night, a place for quietness, calm and coexistence illuminated by the vague, soft light coming out of the lighted pages.

“The books will be there for those who want to take them so the installation will recycle itself and will last as long as users want it there.

“Cars will eventually fill their space but for many of those who walked by this place that night, the memory of those books that took that same space will improve their relationship with these surroundings.”

This is an installation, made of 10,000 books and over 10,000 small battery-powered lights, one city street wide by one city block (and a bit more around the corner) long.

Now let’s listen to Literature vs. Traffic in Toronto by Luzinterruptus, recorded at Nuit Blanche, in Toronto, on 02 October 2016.

That was Literature vs. Traffic in Toronto by Luzinterruptus. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.

For more information and links to things I’ve mentioned, please visit listeningtoart.org.

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Bibliography

All web sites accessed as of 13 September 2017.