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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.


Anonymous 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.