The Empty America time-lapse video series uses special effects to remove all signs of life from major cities, wiping tourists and moving cars from the streets of San Francisco and Seattle. Produced by Ross Ching for Thrash Lab, the series is a spooky thought experiment -- a leap of the imagination that feels jarring because it's like nothing you've ever seen. The latest episode featuring New York City, however, came out the day Sandy made landfall and looks all too familiar after the disaster. The shot of an empty Times Square looks rather like this real photograph, taken just before the storm hit. The video's empty sidewalks and intersections look rather anticlimactic to anyone who's seen this surreal image of a completely empty Grand Central, and nothing tops this photograph of the New York City skyline gone dark.
Still, Empty America is a fascinating perspective on urban life with an implicit critique of our dependence on cars (which began with Ching's Running on Empty, a similar video about Los Angeles). The director demonstrates how he removes people and cars from his footage in a video here.
For more work by Ross Ching, visit http://rossching.com/.
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