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Toynbee tile franklin square DC 2002

The Toynbee Tiles

This nOde last u
pdated December 18th, 2017 and is permanently morphing...

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1 plural tiles or tile

2 : tiling
3 : a thin piece of resilient material (such as cork, linoleum, or rubber) used especially for covering floors or walls
4 : a thin piece resembling a ceramic tile that usually bears a mark or letter and is used as a playing piece in a board game (such as mah-jongg)
5 : hat; especially : a high silk hat

British— on the tiles: engaged in late-night carousing

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The Toynbee tiles (also called Toynbee plaques) are messages of unknown origin found embedded in asphalt of streets in about two dozen major cities in the United States and four South American cities. Since the internal link1980s, several hundred tiles have been discovered. They are generally about the size of an American license plate (roughly 30 cm by 15 cm), but sometimes considerably larger. They contain some variation of the following inscription:

TOYNBEE internal linkIDEA
IN internal linkMOViE `internal link2001
ON PLANET internal linkJUPITER

monolith transcendence

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 initially unknown, but evidence has emerged that they may be primarily made of layers of linoleum and asphalt crack-filling compound. Articles about the tiles began appearing in the mid-1990s, though references may have started to appear in the mid-1980s.

In a documentary film about the tiles, Justin Duerr assumes that "Toynbee" refers to the 20th century British historian Arnold J. Toynbee, and that "Kubrick's 2001" is a reference to the 1968 film internal link2001: A Space Odyssey, a film co-written and directed by filmmaker internal linkStanley Kubrick, about a manned mission to Jupiter. The external linktoynbee.net website speculates that Toynbee refers to Ray Bradbury's short story "The Toynbee Convector".

Stanely Kubrick Hotel Gateway

A tile that used to be located in Santiago de Chile mentions a street address in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 2624 S. 7th Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The current occupants of the house know nothing about the tiles and are annoyed by people who ask, though this is the former residence of a named recluse and alleged tile-maker, as shown in the 2011 documentary film Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles. Toynbee-tile internal linkenthusiasts believe that a native Philadelphian created the Toynbee tiles because of the large number that appear in the city, their apparent age, the variety of carving styles, the  internal linkpresence of the "tile creator's screed", and the Philadelphia address on the Santiago tile.

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Lucky Dragons - Dark Falcon 12"
Lucky Dragons- Dark Falcon 12"
Lucky Dragons - Dark Falcon 12" insert "come rest"
abstract experimental track _Resurrect Dead On Planet Jupiter_ by Lucky Dragons MP3 (vK)atomjacked inventory cache(audio)external linkoff of _Dark Falcon_ 12" on Marriage (2000)

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Possible subjects

Toynbee tiles peel back

Arnold J. Toynbee's "The Idea"

According to letters written by the tiler, allegedly uncovered by Toynbee tile researchers in Philadelphia in 2006, "Toynbee's idea" stems from a passage in Arnold Toynbee's book Experiences, pp. 139–142:

Human nature presents human minds with a internal linkpuzzle which they have not yet solved and may never succeed in solving, for all that we can tell. The dichotomy of a human being into 'soul' and 'body' is not a datum of experience. No one has ever been, or ever met, a living human soul without a body... Someone who accepts—as I myself do, taking it on trust—the present-day scientific account of the Universe may find it impossible to believe that a living creature, once dead, can come to life again; but, if he did entertain this belief, he would be thinking more 'scientifically' if he thought in the Christian terms of a psychosomatic resurrection than if he thought in the internal linkshamanistic terms of a disembodied spirit.

Ray Bradbury's "The Toynbee Convector"

Another possible interpretation is that the Toynbee reference comes from the internal linkscience fiction writer Ray Bradbury's short story "The Toynbee Convector", which alludes to Toynbee's idea that in order to survive, humankind must always internal linkrush to meet the future and believe in a better world, and must always aim far beyond what is practically possible, in order to achieve something barely within reach. Thus the message might be that humanity ought to strive to colonize Jupiter—as in Clarke's work—or something greater, to survive.

internal linkArthur C. Clarke's "Jupiter V"

Arthur C. Clarke's short story "Jupiter V" involves a space ship named the "Arnold Toynbee" on a mission to Jupiter. It contains elements in common with 2001.

Arthur C. Clarke 1990

David Mamet's "4 A.M."

Playwright David Mamet has spoken of his belief that the tiles are a homage to one of his plays, and has described it as "the weirdest thing that ever happened". In his 1983 work 4 A.M. (published in the collection Goldberg Street: Short Plays and Monologues in 1985) a radio host based on Larry King impatiently listens to a caller who contends that the movie 2001, based on the writings of Arnold Toynbee, speaks of the plan to reconstitute life on Jupiter. The radio show host quickly points out the factual errors in the caller's assertion and the logical fallacies of his plan.

Researchers for the 2011 documentary Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (avi)atomjacked inventory cache(2011) claim to have uncovered several pieces of evidence that predate Mamet's play, including a internal link1980 call by the tiler to Larry King's radio show. They cite a 1983 article in The Philadelphia Inquirer which mentions a local man "contacting talk shows and newspapers to spread the message" about bringing the dead to life on Jupiter, as depicted in the film 2001.

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Resurrect Dead
In 1983, a man identifying himself as a social worker named James Morasco internal linkcontacted talk shows and newspapers with his theory of colonizing Jupiter with the dead inhabitants of Earth, claiming to have come across the idea while reading a book by historian Arnold Toynbee. In a conversation with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Morasco discussed how Toynbee's book contained a theory on bringing dead molecules back to life, and that this was later depicted in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. The caller had internal linkfounded what the Inquirer called a "Jupiter colonization organization", known as the Minority Association.

In 1996, the Kansas City Star editor Doug Worgul discovered a "Toynbee Tile" at the corner of 13th and Grand in downtown Kansas City. Investigating the story seven years later, he found that the tile was still there and he determined that the street had last been resurfaced in 1996. Comparing the tile to those in other cities, a local police detective felt that "clearly it was created by the same hand", and concluded that despite referring to a "movement", the creator was acting alone.

In 2003, Worgul called the only James Morasco in the Philadelphia internal linktelephone book, and was told by the man's wife that her husband had died in March that year, aged 88. When asked about the tiles, Morasco's widow said that her husband "didn't know anything about it". Worgul doubted that this was the tile maker. Action News spoke to the widow of a man named James Joseph Morasco, and identified him as a Philadelphia carpenter who had died in 2003, aged 87. His wife did not recognise the tiles and said her husband had had no interest in Jupiter. If Morasco had died at either age in 2003, he would have been in his seventies when most of the tiles were laid.

In a 2011 documentary, Justin Duerr said that he considered the tiles to be the work of a single person, and attributed them to the reclusive Philadelphia resident Severino "Sevy" Verna, who Duerr believed used the name "James Morasco" as an alias.Verna purportedly placed the tiles through a hole in the floor of his car while broadcasting a message via short wave radio about his theories.

New tiles have been seen in Philadelphia since 2003. Between 2002 and 2007, many such tiles displayed a different font and styling than the older tiles and tended to leave out words that were found on the originals: "raise" is often substituted for "resurrect", and prepositions are frequently omitted. Beginning in 2007, tiles were discovered in Philadelphia that are quite similar to the original tiles, leading some to believe that everything has been the work of the same person throughout the life of the tile phenomenon. The font and message are the same as the old ones, and the subtext is a return to some of the older ideas as well. These tiles were glued with a thicker layer of asphalt glue or sealant than older ones.

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Toynbee-tile enthusiast Justin Duerr claims to have once found and examined a newly installed tile. This new tile was wrapped in tar paper and placed on a busy street early in the morning. From this find and other evidence, Duerr believes that the pressure exerted by automobiles driving over the tile for weeks on end pushes the tile into the road surface. Eventually, the tar paper wears away, exposing the message.

A Toynbee-tile internal linkenthusiast website reported a tile found in Pittsburgh that included deployment instructions, which the reader transcribed as "linoleum, asphalt glue (?) in several layers, then placing tar paper over it so that car wheels won't mess it up, and apparently the heat of the internal linksun on the tar paper will bake it into the street". This tile was located near the Pittsburgh Hilton, and has since been paved over.

Destruction, conservation, and public acknowledgment

Tiles that are located in the middle of busy streets and highway on- and off-ramps tend to wear away quickly and also can become victims of resurfacing; smaller tiles and those located close to pedestrian crosswalks tend to be in better condition. Hundreds of tiles have been destroyed during the course of regular road maintenance. The city of Chicago has declared the tiles "vandalism" and removes any tiles that it finds, considering them to be "no different than graffiti".

There is no public or private agency dedicated to conserving Toynbee tiles. Many tiles now exist only as photographs taken before their destruction. The tiles have enjoyed internal linkattention from American and European media outlets, including from The New York Times, The Chicago Sun-Times, Spiegel Online, and NPR. In 2011, Philadelphia-based filmmakers Justin Duerr, Jon Foy, Colin Smith, and Steve Weinik released Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, an independent documentary film about the tiles. The film was selected for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary category, and Foy won the category's Directing Award.

As of October 2015 the Streets Department of Philadelphia recognize Toynbee Tiles as street art, and "will save one or two of the Toynbee Tiles only if there is a fast and affordable method for removing them".

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N 41° 29.858 W 081° 41.683
Corner of West Prospect and West 3rd, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

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