An anonymous art group in Spain, Luzinterruptus, uses light as their tool and the night as a canvas to create art pieces that are as powerful as they are beautiful. By Shrimayee Thakur
Luzinterruptus started operating in Madrid towards the end of 2008, using inexpensive materials off the streets to create art that highlighted the problems in the city that they felt needed more attention than they were getting from the authorities and citizens. The group uses public spaces to create meaningful art. Luzinterruptus has put up exhibits in countries like Spain, the UK, France, USA and Poland.
The group consists of three members, who come from varying backgrounds in art, lighting and photography, combining their skills to create artworks in public spaces. They use easily available materials, plastic, recycled materials and even garbage, combined with light. The art pieces are temporary, and dismantled soon after their installation. The group wants their work to be easy to interpret by passersby, and claims that they leave “lights lit by the city with the intention that others turn them off.” Among their inspirations are topics like life in the city, the use of public spaces, inhospitable environments, nature, and social demands. However, they also state that not all of their pieces have a hidden meaning. Occasionally, their aim is to simply beautify or call attention to places or objects that they deem worthy of recognition.
The most recent art installation by the group was an impromptu piece titled ‘Watch where you put your ballot. An improvised luminous (sewer-scented) intervention with little to explain and much to ponder.’ This was a protest against the political propaganda before the general elections in Spain and an appeal for citizens to think before they vote. Luzinterruptus used two lighted ballot envelopes and the sewers in downtown Madrid to create the piece.
In 2018, the group used sanitary napkins with blinking red lights to create an exhibit titled ‘For Women’s Safety (A humorous bloody intervention).’ They were placed in dangerous areas of Madrid and aimed to make these spaces feel “not as menacing” for women. The group states on their website that they used sanitary napkins because they are a symbol of “important demands”, differentiating between the first world, which considers them essential, and the third world that does not have access to them. The element of humour, according to the group, comes into play with the way these products are advertised, as “objects with magical properties associated with safety, comfort, happiness, a good smell, lightness, clouds, or the colour blue or pink, but almost never the colour red.”
In the same year, they also put up a piece titled “Literature Vs. Traffic” in Ann Arbour, Michigan, where they placed 11,000 books in a busy intersection, along with lights to create a glowing river. In doing so, the usually bustling street was transformed into a quiet haven for a few hours, emphasising the might of the written word. Visitors were invited to take the books, which disappeared in a few hours.
In 2017, Luzinterruptus created a ‘plastic labyrinth’, made of 15,000 plastic bottles in transparent plastic bags. The maze, an extension of a similar piece made for Poland’s Katowice Street Art Festival in 2014, was deliberately made to look menacing and claustrophobic, to make people uncomfortable when entering it. The team wanted to visualise the amount of waste generated every day.