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Exhibitions and Events

U-M invites artists to 'pave' Ann Arbor's Liberty Street with 10,000 illuminated books

Toronto’s nuit blanche, a city-wide contemporary art celebration, hosted luzinterruptus in 2016. All photos © Lola martínez

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ANN ARBOR—The U-M Institute for the Humanities has invited Luzinterruptus, an anonymous art collective based in Spain, to work with university and community groups to create a large-scale, illuminated book installation titled “Literature vs. Traffic.”

The event, which is part of the institute’s 2018-19 theme “Humanities and Environments,” will take eight days to create, and will bring together dozens of student and community volunteers who will work with the artists in the Ruthven Museums Building to prepare 10,000 books with LED lights.

The books—most earmarked for recycling—have been donated in recent weeks by individuals, libraries and local organizations.

The work will culminate in a one-night-only public art installation 5-11 p.m. Oct. 23, when the glowing books will “pave” Liberty Street between State and Maynard. The street will be closed to traffic during the day for installation and at night for the event.

Passersby will be free to walk among the installation at their own pace, choosing books to take home in order to preserve a small piece of this interactive work.

Luzinterruptus is known for carrying out urban interventions in public spaces. They want “literature to take over the streets and conquer public spaces, freely offering those passing by a traffic-free place that, for some hours, will succumb to the humble power of the written word.”

They have previously installed “Literature vs. Traffic” in Madrid, Toronto, Melbourne and New York. Ann Arbor is the first Midwestern “college town” to host the installation, according to Institute for the Humanities curator Amanda Krugliak.

“It’s incredibly exciting to host the project here, bringing Ann Arbor into an international conversation with other rich cultural centers,” Krugliak said. “It reminds us we are a community that values knowledge, education and the arts—remaining open to diverse perspectives and new information that enlightens us.”

Those interested in volunteering to help prepare the installation during the week leading up to the event can sign up online:

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