Saturday, November 26, 2011
Most Philadelphia city dwellers, and even tourists who've explored around the Art Museum, will admit glancing down at the asphalt at a Center City intersection and noticing seemingly nonsense tiles and yellow or red robots.
I first noticed them on a trip to the Art Museum my first year in Philly and thought they must be markers for a walking trail, but later found out they were just "graffiti", made more permanent by the constant passing of cars pressing them farther into the street. (They're actually not permanent: see deterioration in photos below (and new paving, of course!)).
Upon further research (i.e. a Google search titled 'Philadelphia asphalt graffiti'), I read all about the mysterious Toynbee tiles found in many U.S. cities, even Buenos Aires, Rio, and Santiago de Chile! In Philly, at least, Toynbee robots are even more rampant than Toynbee tiles.
I took these photos of tiles around my neighborhood, but there are thousands in a Google image search. Most tiles are similar, with references to resurrection and Jupiter and lacking grammatical sense. What do you think? One person? A group of people? A bunch of copycats?
Check out some of the news articles and other info I've found:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toynbee_tiles (if you don't like Wikipedia as a source, check out this post by Teach Paperless)
Woah! There's even a documentary!
So, thanks to you, Mr. Toynbee or Mr. Morasco, or whoever who are, I love Philly because of mysterious street robots!