Trippy “Mirror City” video turns US cities into kaleidoscopic feast

In his video “Mirror City Timelapse” photographer Michael Shainblum turns Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas and Los Angeles into something not many of us have seen before.

Shainblum relies on a palette of trippy kaleidoscopic patterns, colors and movement. The soothing video features a chillaxed track called ‘Butterfly’ from San Francisco based EDM artist Bassnectar. Some of the camera angles in Mirror City bring to mind but definitely feel nothing like the gloomy, Philip Glass scored documentary classic Koyaanisqatsi.

Look at cities, they’re our future

Maybe it is with the future in mind that we should look at Michael Shainblum’s kaleidoscopic Mirror City video? It’s an uplifting clip, but also a depiction of largely noisy, traffic heavy streets of America’s largest cities.

As early as 1961, journalist Jane Jacobs discussed the subject of high rise, car centered cities in her scathing critique, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”. The book argued that the urban aesthetics had been skewed towards being best viewed from helicopters and elevated highways. These design values impact functionality as the street level no longer is a pleasant, well connected place for humans themselves to inhabit.

We need artistic help like Shainblum’s to come to terms with the fact that most humans now live in cities. Maybe it’s time to think about how humans move about and get around in what is essentially our habitats? Let’s hope future megacities can beautiful without the need for painstakingly making extraordinarily trippy video montages of them.

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