Arts + Design

Ever feel alone in a crowded place? This artist gets you

Aug 7, 2014 /

Adam Magyar struggles with the speed of time. (Who can blame him?) In response, the Hungarian artist and photographer captures densely populated urban areas at extremely high speeds — then slows each moment down so you can experience every breath and blink. The result: hypnotic videos that reveal the hidden depths of everyday experiences. One conceptual series, Stainless, turns a mundane subway commute into a meditation on mortality and human perception. In Stainless, Magyar creates both videos and still photographs, the latter using a line-scan camera (the same kind of camera used in a scanner) to turn a speeding train into “a frozen image of impossible clarity and stillness, a reality imperceptible to both passengers speeding into the station and bystanders waiting to board,” writes Joshua Hammer in Matter. “The individuals in his trains ride together yet apart, lost in their own thoughts, often transfixed by their hand-held devices.”

Below, see five haunting gifs created from Magyar’s Stainless videos, along with one from a new work, Array. Be sure to experience the full excerpts on Magyar’s site — and explore his series Urban Flow, photographs of the world captured by scanning one line of pixels at a time — up to 8,000 lines per second.

Seoul, “Array #1” (2014)

Beijing, Stainless (2014)

42nd street, New York, Stainless (2013)

Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Stainless (2011)

Tokyo, Stainless (2010)

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Adam Magyar spoke in June 2014 at the TED Salon in Berlin. Watch him talk about his work.