Literature vs Traffic – October 23, 2018

A few weeks ago, I saw this event pop up on my Facebook page.

10,000 books to fill a block in Ann Arbor?

Presented by the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities and Luzinterruptus, the block-long display would be held on October 23, 2018 from 5-11PM.

When books and Ann Arbor are players in an event, my curiosity is piqued.

At Luzinterruptus‘ website I learned that they are an anonymous group of artists who intervene in urban public spaces, illuminating their installations with light.  The temporary exhibit provides light that people take home with them.

This project is a commentary on the celebration of the written word, community, and…well, this young woman explains it best:

I wondered what ten-thousand books spread out on a city block would look like and its meaning.  The camera and I made the trip.

I arrived around four o’clock.  I was a little disturbed, at first.  It seemed like a blasphemous treatment of books.  I walked around it, snapping photos of whatever caught my attention in the mass of pages.

Standing there in the late afternoon, a breeze whipped down the street, fluttering the pages. A ripple of waves on a paper sea, whispering the words and ideas of their authors.

A pond, ten-thousand
worlds deep, deeper than a sea.
Unfathomable.

As the afternoon waned, the blocked street attracted more foot traffic.

As the ink of nightfall dribbled across the sky, their lights emerged.

 

Night falls, the books cast their glow.

I did not stay when the book-taking began.  However, as I prepared to leave, I noticed something that I needed to capture.  In the background of this pond of pages is the building that once held the flagship location of Borders Book Store.

The installation held a contemplative atmosphere.  I thought about how libraries and book stores shelve books together by category, for convenience, yet in the street, the lines are blurred and intertwined.  A mystery novel could lay next to a math text book; a contemporary social science study next to a nautical history from a century ago.  Beacons of community.  At night’s end, all will have found a home.

 

 

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