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The Green Life: Seeing Madrid in a New Light

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April 18, 2012

Seeing Madrid in a New Light

LuzinterruptusIf you roam the streets of Madrid at night, you may happen upon the illuminating work of Luzinterruptus. Last year, the anonymous artist collective challenged an absence of “usable green spaces” by constructing miniature ecosystems, which they placed in Madrid’s grayest corners. In February, the group called attention to the scarcity of functioning public drinking fountains by creating a fountain of their own: one that spewed a stream of glowing water bottles.
 
In their most recent installation, Luzinterruptus addresses the problem of light pollution. “Of all the environmental pollution that can be found in the city of Madrid, the most evident is light pollution,” the group wrote on their website. “It is therefore very surprising, that at a time when the European Union is so careful with issues of environmental pollution, the Dept. of the Environment of the City Council of Madrid rules for illuminated signs, adopted a couple of years ago, changed the rules for pharmacy signs, to allow them to be replaced with much more powerful ones.”
 
Instead of sending letters to that Department, the collective took to the streets once more. This time, they planted "Mutant Weeds," a plot of green glow sticks that resembles a radioactive lawn. Luzinterruptus hopes that "Mutant Weeds" will conjure a “not-too-distant future, in which a new and hardy species of photosensitive plant grows in the asphalt around the pharmacies, nourished by the photosynthesis of its powerful ‘low’ light.”

Crowd viewing installation by LuzinterruptusAlthough this apocalyptic scenario may sound complex, Luzinterruptus claims that “the idea behind [their] work is very simple: attract attention through light in public places so that they can be understood by the people who pass by at that very moment, without the need for instructions.” In the same 2010 interview, the artists explained the genesis of their interventions: “sometimes we approach problems we encounter in our daily wanderings that being obvious are often overlooked. In other occasions, our aim is only to embellish or make known places which look especial or things to which we consider to have an extremely high artistic value, despite the fact that they have been left by chance on the streets by strangers with no aesthetic will.”
 
Whatever their approach, we can’t wait to find out which corner of the city Luzinterruptus will choose to light up next. 

--Images courtesy of Gustavo Sanabria and Luzinterruptus; See more installations below.

Jenny SlatteryJenny Slattery is a contributing blogger at Sierra magazine. She also spends her time working in health education, hiking, writing fiction and searching for the perfect bagel.

 

Water fountain by Luzinterruptus

Minature ecosystem by Luzinterruptus

 Little Birds Inhabiting Scafolding by Luzinterruptus

 

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