Jaak Kaveats: Streetscapes, Tokyo Station Street

Work / Art

Art: Jaak Kaevats mixes art and technology with his fascinating Street-Scapes

Jaak Kaevats has some ludicrously interesting ideas. As part of his MA thesis which considers the way electric sensors and algorithms see the world, the interaction designer has created this Street-Scape project, a contextual visualisation of an urban environment which effectively depicts five minutes in the life of a street.

Implausible thought it may seem, the images are neither mock-ups nor made-up. Created using custom programmed software and then printed on a large scale, each image shows a five minute timeline in which each line corresponds to 30 seconds, and people moving at an average speed of five kilometres an hour are shown in their real proportions, whereas those moving faster are made thinner, and those moving slower stretched wider. The simple, blurred background and the digitally obscured faces of the people pictured mean that the result is a simplified yet informative view of the city’s inhabitants, and the way of life in different areas of the city.

Perhaps even more interesting than the data behind the images are the patterns that Jaak was able to identify in making the work; astoundingly, viewers easily recognised different cities judging simply from the demographic of the people pictured, the clothing they wear and the bicycles they ride. So, by creating a factually accurate and yet aesthetically pleasing body of work, Jaak has succeeded in implicating whole cities of people in his complex ideas, encouraging them to ask questions about the notion of a local identity whilst being captured in the results that chart it. See? Ludicrously interesting.


Jaak Kaevats: Streetscapes, Nagoya Street


Jaak Kaevats: Streetscapes (detail)


Jaak Kaevats: Streetscapes, Osaka Street


Jaak Kaevats: Streetscapes (detail)


Jaak Kaevats: Streetscapes, Tokyo Imperial Palace Gardens


Jaak Kaevats: Streetscapes (detail)


Jaak Kaevats: Streetscapes, Tokyo International Gardens


Jaak Kaevats: Streetscapes, (detail)


Jaak Kaevats: Streetscapes, Tokyo Shibuya Station