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Hacked Traffic Cams Create Kaleidoscopic Images Of New York City

James Bridles' "Rorschcam" turns the traffic footage into Rorschach Test-like visualizations.
March 12, 2014, 2:17pm

Yesterday, technologist and artist James Bridle debuted via Twitter a project he’s been working on since beginning his residency at Eyebeam this past January. He calls it the Rorschcam NYC, and if you’re any familiar with psychology’s classic Rorschach ink blot tests—you know, the black smears that look like everything and nothing at the same time—chances are you get why this title is super appropriate.


“These cameras are live and operated by the New York City Department of Transportation,” says a description over at the project’s website. “You can see all of the cameras on a map at their website. (This site is not affiliated to the DoT in any way.)”

“Select a camera from the top to start. There are hundreds of cameras, but they might not all be working. If yours isn't, just try another one. The camera images update every second—wait a moment to see if it's working.”

Over at the project’s Flickr account, you can see some prime stills Bridle took of the cams in action. The best ones take place at night time, where, in true Rorschach fashion, the lack of light actually makes you tilt your head a little bit to help discern the cars from buildings or bridges.

This project might not reveal any quirks about city life, but hey, the whole point of a Rorshach is subjective interpretation. Make what you will of this one.

A few more below:

Follow James Bridle over at his website.

Follow Johnny Magdaleno on Twitter: @johnny_mgdlno