Mutant weeds

Amidst the recession, alarm over global warming and unemployment crisis encroaching Spain, a change has befallen the country’s streets – the lights of its pharmacies are glowing ever more brightly. New regulations from the illuminated signage division of the Department of the Environment of the City Council of Madrid (picture fitting that onto a business card) have enabled pharmacy signs to be replaced with much more powerful green lighting, thereby making the city’s “green zones” a luminous lime, as opposed to the colour of grass. This is an irony addressed by the light art collective Luzinterruptus in their latest urban intervention. Their art work tackles the long-term problems of light pollution and the challenges and disconnection from nature that it presents to those living nearby – neighbour’s lives ‘blighted’ indefinably by the pharmacy’s vibrant green glare… who knows what growing up in the green spotlight could do to a child?!

Luzinterruptus’ installation focuses around the concept of “mutant weeds“, an alien, futuristic plant specimen that flourishes under the pharmacy’s light. It illustrates the case of a plant quite literally glowing as a consequence of the city’s ‘polluted’ micro-geography, although glowing in a radioactive, stand-offish kind of way rather than a post-holiday healthy glow. The weeds were constructed of fluorescent sticks planted on the pavement in three downtown locations. And, although ironically, I think the ‘mutant weeds’ improve the aesthetics of their illuminated neighbourhoods, I like the concept as a way of visualising pollution and drawing atttention to a topic (specifically shop lighting) that is often in the shadows. I would subsequently be intrigued to see this approach taken even further, perhaps to the ‘mutant creatures’ that are familiar with the pharmacy bins…


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