Luzinterruptus is an anonymous art collective whose members carry out urban installations worldwide. The group originated from a shared desire to use their creativity, with individuals in disciplines from visual art to photography, to engage in social action for positive change.
Together, they use light to bring attention to environmental and social issues that go unnoticed or neglected. Luzinterruptus focuses on significant global problems requiring awareness and public action, such as sustainability, climate change, and our reliance on plastics. By using light to create large-scale displays, the group sees their work as “interventions.”
Light is our raw material; the dark is our canvas.
The artist group started in Madrid in 2008 by placing lights throughout the city to compel people to notice them and put the lights out. Using light ensured the installations did not deface or destroy the existing urban architecture. Light serves the group’s larger goal to create symbolic common spaces, a rarity in many urban environments.
Below, we’ve highlighted a few recent projects and future concepts.
The Plastic We Live With (Buenos Aires) May 2023
For World Recycling Day on May 17, the local government of the city of Buenos Aires – through the Ministerio de Espacio Público e Higiene Urbana (Department of Public Areas and Urban Sanitation) – invited the collective to design a representation of the plastic surplus infesting cities around the globe.
The group was allowed to use El Obelisco de Buenos Aires as their canvas, making their design challenge even more exciting. The emblematic monument doesn’t only loom over Buenos Aires physically. El Obelisco is also the epicenter of the city’s commercial and social life and a stage for public demonstrations and popular celebrations.
To help The Plastic We Live With stand out amongst the buildings, traffic, and light pollution of Plaza de la República for its week-long installation, the collective constructed a complex system of scaffolds and cross-supports around the monument, using iron extracted from old billboards. Plastic waste was attached to the frame until the obelisk disappeared, while powerful LED beams backlit the display. The final effect was reminiscent of stained-glass windows. The message? Large quantities of disposable plastic are still circulating despite many communities’ efforts to ban them.
The most challenging part of the project was sourcing the recycled plastic needed to cover the installation in less than a month. Luzinterruptus leaned on Buenos Aires’ world-class recycling system, frequently managed by civil society organizations (CSOs). The group had previous relationships with the system from 2018 when they collaborated to source material for Labyrinth of Plastic Waste at Teatro Colón.
The Plastic We Live With by some impressive numbers:
- 82 feet high installation
- 9,867 square foot area covered by recyclable waste
- 30,000 plastic bags donated by citizens and gathered by CSOs
Against the installation’s strange beauty, visitors photographed themselves and, hopefully, were inspired to think about the massive quantity of toxic material that made it possible.
Labyrinth of Plastic Waste (Shanghai) August 2023
The Labyrinth of Plastic Waste, one of several labyrinths the group has done worldwide (the first in Poland in 2014), sought to bring attention to our unsustainable plastic consumption. To create the 90,000-bottle installation, Luzinterruptus used social media to invite public donations of plastic waste and tasked volunteer groups and environmental organizations to collect trash off the beaches. Local businesses also donated materials. Welded cross-sections provided the structure for the recycled material stuffed into transparent tulle bags (to avoid using additional plastic).
The installation was an impressive visual display at 131 feet long, 65 feet wide, and 10 feet high. Its scale immersed visitors in a sensory experience for their five-minute walk-through, intended to be both unsettling and thought-provoking.
The labyrinth was open to visitors from August 3 to August 13 in front of Shanghai’s Power Station of Art Building.
(Plastic) Full Moon
Inspired by something they saw in China during their labyrinth installation— a giant human-made moon—the group wants to create a large lunar sphere in their signature style.
Unfortunately, a dystopian future of the moon, full of plastic waste we cannot fit on Earth, is not so far-fetched. In 2024, when the artist collective illuminates Braunschweig, Germany’s skyline, with a huge orb, they hope to offer the public an unforgettable surrealist vision that literally and figuratively hangs over our heads.
Drawing the Drought
Luzinterruptus needs a large area of cracked deserted land, such as a dry reservoir or riverbed, for this installation. Of course, the group hopes they will never have access to this kind of canvas. However, coming out of the hottest summer on record and seeing terrifying images of dry reservoirs and barren fields inspired them to resurrect an old project.
The new rendition of Drawing the Drought will dwarf the original project, installed at La Jarosa reservoir near Madrid in 2019, to dramatize the scale of the water crisis (and water access gap) we’re experiencing. The concept involves tracing the pattern of the cracked Earth with large circles of light using LED strip lights.
The effect will be stunning and scary. But we echo the collective’s sentiments—we hope they won’t have the necessity to carry this one out.
So, what happens to all that waste after use in their public art installations? Once the works are disassembled, most of the materials are donated to companies that use recycled plastic waste to manufacture new products. Luzinterruptus uses any remaining material in future art installations.
With many cities left and no shortage of environmental and social issues to impact, we’re excited to see what this group does next.
Learn more about Luzinterruptus and see what they are up to at luzinterruptus.com.