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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Toynbee Tiles in St. Louis

Have you ever seen one of the "Toynbee tiles" in St. Louis while walking around downtown St. Louis? I have spotted one on Chestnut Street near Kiener Plaza, and one around the Railway Exchange Building at Sixth and Olive streets.

In case you are wondering what I am talking about, let me explain. In several American cities for the last 25 years, strange linoleum tiles have appeared embedded in downtown streets, usually at a crosswalk.

The tiles carry the strange message: "Toynbee Idea: In Movie 2001, Resurrect Dead on Planet Jupiter."

An artist is making a documentary about these strange urban artworks, whose creator remains unidentified. Read the story transcript from NPR for more information.

3 comments:

ben west said...

These "tiles" have shown up across the country, and, of course, there are websites that have tile sightings and conjecture as to the tiles' meaning and/or creators. Highly interesting (and weird) stuff. Indeed, they are apparently not ceramic tiles at all, but rubber mats that are blow-tourched into the pavement by unknown person(s).

Michael M. said...

Thanks for posting. I had missed the radio story. I photographed the local tiles a few years ago, and I blogged about the upcoming documentary. It is a great mystery.

Robert Powers said...

I heard the ads for that same NPR story and did the same digging around on the web for them.

Man, I SAW those things! I can't remember where for certain, but I'm pretty sure I saw them here and there in Philly when I lived there. Maybe St. Louis, too.

What a bizarre form of expression.