Resurrect Dead On Planet Jupiter

In 1992, I was working in Washington DC and would walk each weekday afternoon around DuPont Circle to make a bank deposit for my employer.

The first time I did the daily trek, I noticed an odd tile of some sort embedded in the street, very close to one of the crosswalks. There was always lots of traffic, both foot and vehicular at that time of day, so I passed right by it many times before I ever read it.

One day the opportunity presented itself and I read:


There was some smaller sub text messages beneath the main one, but they were unreadable. The photograph is of the exact tile I saw but was taken in 1993 and the subtext message was already gone by that time.

DuPont Circle Toynbee Tile circa 1993

As a fan of both science fiction and Kubrick, I was intrigued - but puzzled. I had no idea what it meant.

Then, I found more of them during my travels through out the city. All had the same basic message and they all appeared to be made by the same person as the letters all had the same look and feel as having been crafted by the same hand.

They appeared to be made out of clay or floor tile. All of them were so embedded in the roadway, they were literally part of it. I was as intrigued by how they were able to make them do that as I was the strange message.

I discussed them with my wife and friends who'd seen them all over the city too, but no one else had any clue what they were either.

I began to to travel for work and began to find the same embedded tiles all over Philadelphia, Boston, and New York City.

I loved it. Just the very fact that they were so weird and mysterious made me love that they actually existed.

Justin Duerr, an amazing artist in Philadelphia fell under the spell of tiles as well - but way harder. He began traveling and documenting the tiles and discovered them all up and down the east coast, out to Kansas CIty, and all the way down into South America.

He became obsessed with finding the person behind them and in the process made an amazing documentary called Resurrect Dead. It's a great film. I felt a part of Justin's search while watching it as he treats the subject with respect and the love of wonder it deserves.

It's on Netflix now. Watch it!

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