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Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles Debuts at Sundance
January 17, 2011

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles

I’d be interested in seeing this documentary, if I was anywhere near the Sundance Film Festival: Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles. Here’s the description and synopsis:

Most people don’t notice the hundreds of cryptic tiled messages about resurrecting the dead that have been appearing in city streets over the past three decades. But Justin Duerr does. For years, finding an answer to this long-standing urban mystery has been his obsession. He has been collecting clues that the tiler has embedded in the streets of major cities across the U.S. and South America. But as Justin starts piecing together key events of the past he finds a story that is more surreal than he imagined, and one that hits disturbingly close to home.

Filmmaker Jon Foy and Philadelphia-based artist and musician Justin Duerr began planning a documentary film about the Toynbee Tiles in 2000. Five years later, they began filming their investigation of these strange street plaques embedded in the asphalt of major U.S. and South American urban intersections that had held Duerr’s fascination for over a decade. Having appeared on hundreds of reported examples from the mid-1980s to present, the cryptic four-line message of the Toynbee Tiles read: “Toynbee Idea / In Kubrick’s 2001 / Resurrect Dead / On Planet Jupiter”. While the text on the plaques was clear enough, neither Duerr nor the numerous media outlets that had documented the phenomenon knew what these tiles meant, how or why they were installed, or who was responsible for them.

Here’s a trailer/featurette showing Jon Foy talking about the movie:

I remember seeing these street tiles when I lived in Philadelphia (perhaps their headquarters) in the early 90s. This kind of real-world mystery (like the number stations) really creeps me out and sends shivers down my spine. It doesn’t seem to mean much of anything, but the fact that no one knows the truth is severely disturbing to me.

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One Response  
j. piroli writes:  

Oh, it means something alright…

 
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