Since the end of 2008, anonymous artist group Luzinterruptus have been carrying out urban interventions in public spaces using light as a raw material and the darkness as a canvas. Based in Madrid, Spain, Luzinterruptus’ work often aims to focus the attention of the public on problems in the city that otherwise go unnoticed. At other times their installations are merely playful or poetic. Their work is very visual and transient, sometimes lasting for only a couple of hours before being removed by the city authorities. Their two most recent light installations address issues of democracy in Europe.
Toilets with a political message
In “The government doesn’t give a shit about the Spanish Constitution” a series of lit-up toilet seats were installed in a square in Madrid. The installation was in reaction to the passing of the controversial Protection of Public Safety Bill (Ley de Protección de la Seguridad Ciudadana), also known as the “gag law”, which citizens and law experts are saying threates the freedom of assembly, speech and information.
An amusing site from a distance, the toilets each contained a page of the Constitution with articles that referred to the freedom of expression and the rights of citizens. The name of the installation emphasises what Luzinterruptus meant by positioning the paper inside the toilet seat.
“We went to the neighborhood of Vallecas, to the Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square), to express our disagreement with lights and good humor; two weapons that are unknown to the police, and have spared us a lot of trouble so far,” explain the anonymous artists on their website.
“The intervention was called ‘El gobierno manda a la mierda la Constitución Española’ (The government doesn’t give a shit about the Spanish Constitution) and we worked at two different locations of the square in order to carry it out; thus, we created a stage that served as a graphic, visual reference to what comes to our mind when we hear about such laws.”
Spanish authorities removed the light installation, which was created the on 1 July 2015, after just two hours.
ATMs spit out Greek drachmas
In a second installation - a response to the recent Greek referendum, the imposed capital controls and the queues at ATMs - Luzinterruptus created a light installation that commented on the relationship between democracy and the banks.
“We wanted to celebrate the chance that ATMs in Greece could have their very own currency flowing out of them, a currency that would lie outside the malign influence of the Eurogroup,” say the artists.
They converted seven ATMs in downtown Madrid into referendum ballot boxes, which fired out drachmas (Greece’s pre-euro currency) when a no vote was deposited.
The Spanish, many of who have expressed anger at their own countries austerity measures, watched the results of the Greek referendum closely.
All photos by L. Martinez.