Max Leyzerovich is back at it again with the surveillance art - Technical.ly DC

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Max Leyzerovich is back at it again with the surveillance art

A hundred traffic cameras present a real-time “God View of D.C.” — complete with unsettling audio.

We're watching, but what are we seeing?

(Screenshot)

One hundred tiny squares pop up on the screen in front of me — images of crosswalks and intersections, traffic jams and Metro busses. Three are completely black. I hear a crackling male voice bark “1600 F Street” followed by a female voice saying something about a “56-year-old female” before she’s too muffled to understand. There’s a moment of quiet. The images refresh on my page.

This is the latest project from D.C.-based designer and Twitter bot enthusiast Max Leyzerovichyou may remember him from @V2FzaGluZ3Rvbg and @DistrictPic.

The images I’m looking at? They comprise the live feeds of the District’s (approximately) 100 traffic cameras. And the audio? That’s the live feed of D.C. Fire and EMS communications. It’s all part of Leyzerovich’s continued interest in exploring what surveillance really looks like in this city.

This particular dashboard is hosted as a page on the multimedia design site NewHive — Leyzerovich told Technical.ly he’s a huge fan and had always wanted to contribute to the site. NewHive is putting special focus on digital art that explores privacy, surveillance and prison reform over the next three weeks, so Leyzerovich saw an opportunity.

He puts the relationship between the NewHive page and the @V2FzaGluZ3Rvbg Twitter bot this way: “The twitter tries to juxtapose a bit of absurdism, banality and fear mongering by showing real shots of D.C. with world news and security bulletins,” he wrote. “But the page itself is supposed to feel like more of a ‘dashboard’ or God View of D.C.”

The banality of the spaces seen, though, remains constant. “Once you look closer there isn’t anything ‘interesting’ or ‘jarring’ that jumps out,” Leyzerovich said. “It’s all cars and pedestrians and the occasional tourists on scooters. Once the realization that this is neither shocking, nor interesting settles — other more expressive things begin to emerge.”

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Like how there, amid a cacophony of surveillance, are lonely images and beautifully staged moments and weird, psychedelic effects caused by glitches.

Leyzerovich shared a few of his favorites from @V2FzaGluZ3Rvbg’s 35,000 tweets:

lonely

staging

glitch2

By definition these same types of images are featured on the NewHive page, but it’s a very different experience — less poetic and much more busy. The audio, too, adds an unsettling element.

All in all it’s an unusual perspective on this city, and a meditation on privacy and surveillance and knowledge that might lead you to some unexpected places. What’s not to like?

Go play around with the weird, omniscient perspective of Leyzerovich’s NewHive project for yourself.

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