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What if New York City is just a really good optical illusion?

What if New York City is just a really good optical illusion?

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Life in New York City can feel artificial. I don’t mean that in the stereotypical sense — that its residents are vapid, self-interested snobs. No, for me, it’s the opposite. The city’s unease stems from its density of humanity.

On a simple walk to work, you will pass beneath hundreds of lumbering buildings full of thousands of strangers. The amount of life is so unfathomably compressed, that your brain refuses to recognize the very real fact that you share a few square miles with million of other souls.

So, in order to get by, you invest in your only little story, swearing under your breath about the line at the deli, or the guy who holds the door on the subway, because being empathically available would be overwhelming to the point of a mental break.

Artists Claire & Max’s new video, Illusion, captures this anxiety of city-dwelling. Real skyscrapers have been digitally gutted, and what remains are Hollywood-like facades, braced by steel brackets. People are guided by an omniscient force, represented by glowing lines that extend from their heads to the heavens.

We covered Claire & Max’s similar video, set in Paris, in January. That short doesn’t include the digitized, omniscient lines, and instead has a ghastly vibe.