Literature vs Traffic

A beautiful response to traffic, Luzinterruptus staged a literary river of 10,000 books overflowing on a busy street as part of Toronto’s annual Nuit Blanche.

Literature vs. Traffic touches upon the implications of traffic and congestion by replacing an otherwise noisy polluted street with the written word. The art piece has been previously installed in Madrid, New York, and Melbourne.

Spectators were urged to participate in the piece by taking home books, leaving the literary river dry (pun intended) after about 10 hours.

The artist recounts,

“..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.”

Literature vs Traffic reminds me of Alexandra Horowitz’s On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, a book that records her walks around a city block with 11 different perspectives, from an artist, to a geologist, to a baby and a dog.

We all look at our surroundings with our biases – some don’t even look at all, consumed by work or whatever it is we deem more important at any given time. We float past each other, believing our urgency is far superior than others. Sometimes it takes stimuli, pushed upon us such as Nuit Blanche, or intentional, such as Horowitz’s record of different perspectives, to insist upon attentiveness and mindfulness of our surroundings.

“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.” – Luzinterruptus