Hyderabad: A photo showing thousands of books lying on a street has gone viral with the claim that it is from the annual book donation festival in Toronto where a street is turned into "a river of donated books". A person can pick a book from the street and take it home.
The photograph has been shared on Facebook with the caption, "Toronto has an annual festival where they turn a street into a river of donated books, then everyone can choose a book to take home."
The claim that the viral image shows an annual book donation festival in Toronto is FALSE.
NewsMeter searched using the keywords "books on the streets of Toronto" and found the same image published in several news reports.
According to the reports, the image was part of the Nuit Blanche Toronto 2016 festival held in November 2016. As part of the festival – a free, city-wide celebration of contemporary art – the streets were flooded with glowing books.
Luzinterruptus, a collective of anonymous artists from Spain, executed the stunt for the Nuit Blanche festival with the help of 50 volunteers. Using books donated by the Salvation Army, the installation took 12 days to put together, with the final result being dubbed "Literature vs Traffic".
According to Luzinterruptus, the books represent the "conqueror of public space with traffic yielding to the modest power of the written word". The Madrid-based group's work centers around urban interventions in public spaces using light.
According to reports, the installation encouraged spectators to engage with the participatory artwork and take books home with them, which dismantled the piece after about 10 hours. Beyond the implications of traffic and congestion in urban areas, the installation also revalued the printed book in an era that is going increasingly digital. By looking through the physical material and selecting their preferred reading materials, the discarded books were reclaimed by new owners.
We also found similar projects on the website Luzinterruptus.com where light has been used creatively by the anonymous group.
The members of the team, who come from different disciplines like art and photography, wanted to apply their creativity to leave lights throughout the city so that other people could put them out. "We began to act on the streets of Madrid at the end of 2008 with had the simple idea of focusing people's attention by shedding light on problems that we found in the city and that seem to go unnoticed to the authorities and citizens," the group said on its website.
Hence, the viral image shows an art installation on the streets of Toronto from November 2016 and is NOT from a book donation festival in Toronto, Canada. The claim is FALSE.