High Speed Street Art

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You've seen them on sidewalks turning out portraits and landscapes at almost impossibly high speeds. In Pall Thayer's "Autodrawn: sketching landscapes seen through my windows," the role of the roadside artist has been usurped by the computer. "Autodrawn" sketches abstract interpretations of real-time traffic camera images as seen through its browser windows. These drawings, composed of muted earthtones, take a few minutes to materialize. Once completed, they remain on the screen for mere seconds before disappearing to make way for a new image. These emerging landscapes are accompanied by music--a blend of synthesizer effects and live police radio. The title of the work is a reference to the German autobahn, that super-freeway without speed limits, and in his artist statement, Thayer explains the site as both a criticism and a celebration of speed-obsessed culture. Thayer recognizes that while freeways are undoubtedly "a constant threat to human life," they are also "an essential element in modern city living." He also notes their architectural intricacy and "aesthetic charm," which make them appropriate subjects for these automatic sketches, even if not as colorful as those of tourists and passersby caught in a pose. - Alex Sadvari