A large scale, street version of “bookcrossing” – this isone of my first thought on this enormous project, another one from my favourite Luzinterruptus collective. This time, they were not creating in their homeland, Spain, but they were invited to participate in Light in Winter festival held in Melbourne (in June). The subject of this year’s event was “reading”, therefore they were asked to recreate their installation “Literature vs. Traffic” which was previously done in New York.
The group had a material of 10,000 books discarded by public libraries because they considered them to be obsolete. After what they describe”a tough battle against the weather”, the collective managed to change the appearance of the plaza progressively for a month, and that on the night of June 30, a lane of the busy Flinders Street became a space for reading and coexistence, lit by a dim light that paled under the powerful LED displays installed in the plaza.
The objective of this piece? The authors described it thus: ” [… that a river of books overflowing into the physical pedestrian spaces and installed itself in the space allocated to cars, stealing precious space to the dense traffic in the area, in a symbolic gesture in which literature took control of the streets and became the conquerer of the public space, offering the citizens, a space (not as big as we would have liked) in which the traffic withdrew yielding ground to the modest power of the written word.”
On the final night, the overflowing river of books was offered to the visitors who took their time choosing the most interesting to take home from the thousands installed there. In addition 9 artists from the company Yumi, conducted an impromptu and magical performance that ended in a donation of books to the occupants of the cars that were circulating in the vicinity, who, stupefied opened their windows to receive these mysterious presents.