Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, directed by a housecleaner nemed Jon Foy. Much to his surprise, he won the U.S. Documentary Competition Directing Award at Sundance. Foy followed Justin Duerr‘s search for the origin of the famous Toynbee tiles, which are implanted in streets around the world.
The Toynbee tiles (also called Toynbee plaques) are messages of mysterious origin found embedded in asphalt in about two dozen major cities in the United States and four South American capitals. Since the 1980s, several hundred tiles have been discovered. They are generally about the size of an American license plate, but sometimes considerably larger. They contain some variation on the following inscription:
IN Kubrick’s 2001
ON PLANET JUPITER.
Some of the more elaborate tiles also feature cryptic political statements or exhort readers to create and install similar tiles of their own. The material used for making the tiles was long a mystery, but evidence has emerged that they may be primarily made of layers of linoleum and asphalt crack-filling compound.
“I had no idea that such things were possible in life. Just a few weeks ago I was a housecleaner. This is for all the artists working in obscurity out there. Never give up, because if you do, you know what will happen. If you don’t give up, you don’t know what will happen.”
Here is a Interview with Jon Foy
- Sundance 2011: New Poster for The Documentary RESURRECT DEAD: THE MYSTERY OF THE TOYNBEE TILES (geektyrant.com)
- Urban art enigma not particularly suspenseful (reuters.com)
- Sundance Video Review: Resurrect Dead Is Low-Fi Documentary Fun (cinemablend.com)