A portion of East Liberty Street near the University of Michigan campus was shut down Tuesday as part of a “Literature vs. Traffic” project. Thousands of discarded books lined the streets and were illuminated at night with LED lights. Ann Arbor is one of several cities, including Toronto, New York and Melbourne, to participate in this art installation created by Luzinterruptus, a Spanish undercover art collective.
The event was organized by the Institute for the Humanities at the University in an effort to have literature fill the streets, allowing passersby to be surrounded by the written word.
“What was just a street will become a beautiful installation, as we bring the power of art, education, the written word, and free thought to the entire Ann Arbor community by essentially ‘paving’ Liberty St. with thousands of glowing books,” the Institute’s website reads.
Luzinterruptus began public installations in Madrid in 2008 and since has focused on using light as their main artistic material. “Literature vs. Traffic” has been one of their most popular exhibitions, using over 10,000 books in one exhibition.
“A city area which is typically reserved for speed, pollution and noise, will become, for one night, a place for quietness, calm and coexistance (sic) illuminated by the vague, soft light coming out of the lighted pages,” their website reads. “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 the same space will improve their relationship with these surroundings.”
Volunteers from the Ann Arbor community and University campus began working with artists the week before the event to prepare books and attach lights. Visitors who viewed the installation after 8 p.m. Tuesday were able to take books home for free.