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Behind the Scenes: Luzinterruptus

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Based in Madrid and prone to guerilla overnight installations of public art, Luzinterruptus is a group of anonymous artists whose medium is light. These days the group is invited farther afield to create installations as part of exhibits and festivals, but Luzinterruptus is at its best when it creates provocative works on the streets. Always challenging and often smile-inspiring, the installations are clever displays of aesthetics and ethics. The images here are from a recent temporary display entitled Pool on a background of Field of Barley, a commemoration of the public swimming pool that had been torn down to make way for a better one (along with more upscale shops to replace the small traditional market) and a criticism of the city’s inability to make good on its promise of a renewed sporting facility for local residents.

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Can you tell us a bit about the origins of the group? We know so little

about you.

A group of friends with “artistic concerns” emerged, worried about the deterioration

of public space in Madrid, increasingly in the hands of speculators who think that it

belongs to them, because they were voted for by the citizens or because they pay

to occupy it, without anyone asking them to use it responsibly.

Swept up in this approach, we decided to take to the street on an anonymous

basis, to make our state of unrest visible and we thought of doing it with light,

a material that we are very familiar with and that because of its technical

characteristics allows us great visibility, without damaging the environment or

leaving anything permanent in a space that belongs to everyone.

We have continued in this way until now …

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What do you do during daylight hours?

Unfortunately, we work on other things, that not being those that we like and

interest us the most, are those that allow us to eat and maintain our work with

Luzinterruptus except for the demands of the art market, allowing us not to have

to accept commissions that don’t agree with the way we work and see things.

And it is that the current economic situation in Spain and the neo-liberal mentality

of our rulers, mean that practically nobody is able to earn a living through art,

if not it is because they are already on the international circuit of museums and

galleries, in which case the doors are open to them and no one questions the total

institutional support, although this is disproportionate, comparatively speaking.

The rest, the less fortunate ones, we cannot find any support, and only two ways

remain for us to survive, work on other things, which are usually quite precarious,

or go abroad and try to develop a career that allows us to come back, after some

time, having achieved international fame.

For now we are in Spain, and we hope to resist given that besides what we

previously said, the panorama of labor instability that surrounds us, can lead us to

not even being able to work securely in that which helps us to survive.

Everything that is happening in Spain is very sad…

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What is the group’s philosophy?

Our idea is very simple, we try to create a luminous point of attention on the

problems we find in the city and that seem to go unnoticed by the authorities and

citizens.

But everything that we do does not have a subversive aim. Sometimes we simply

want to embellish, or to highlight anonymous places or corners that seem special

or objects which we think have extraordinary artistic value, although they have

been left on the streets for unknown seasons, with artistic intention, by anonymous

people

And we carried out all this with the materials that we know firsthand and which

inspires us most, light. Besides providing a great visual impact, light allows

us to make interventions in a smaller degree and greater in others. We avoid

deteriorating urban furniture and leave room on the scene for other artists to work

or the users of that common space, which is scarce in great cities.

Our interventions are extraordinarily short lived, they take less than one hour to

disappear since our small luminous devices, make Madrid’s night owls strongly

desire to get their hands on them, quite the contrary, we find it interesting that

somebody could interpret, that what we have left on the street, is a small present

which they can find on their travels.

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Do you ever get into trouble over your installations?

We try not to be, we always go out into the street with the best of attitudes, we

don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable or do things that upset the citizens,

above all else we are not vandals, very much the contrary, we try to use a sense

of humor to attract people, in this way they listen to us and give us their opinions

regarding the theme we are dealing with in a spontaneous manner.

With the police we don’t usually have problems either, we explain to them that we

are taking some “artistic photos” and that we will leave everything as we found it

and they usually leave happily.

Of course, after installing it, we leave it in the street so that people can interact

with it and normally they end up taking it home with them, which delights us.

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What have been some of the more memorable challenges to mounting your

guerilla installations?

They are always the same, carrying out actions which are more sustainable,

economically speaking, every time, using what the street offers us or finding very

cheap or recycled materials, that permit us to create understandable pieces, with

maximum visibility, but at a very reduced cost.

And among other things, we want to demonstrate, that with imagination and

mínimum resources, interesting, useful, beautiful things with a message can be

achieved, an authentic challenge in the times in which we live.

On a practical level, our greatest challenges, above all technical ones, arise

when we to carry out large installations in festivals and events which generate

expectations, and those in which we have to go a little outside of our traditional

guerrilla format to create extensive pieces that require more planning and less

improvisation.

But for now we are achieving it without renouncing our remonstrative spirit, the

last installation that we carried out in Melbourne that lasted a month and in which

we illuminated 10,000 books is a good example of what we are talking about. We

will publish it at the end of August.

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+ luzinterruptus.com

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