ADAM MAGYAR IS A computer geek, a college dropout, a self-taught photographer, a high-tech Rube Goldberg, a world traveler, and a conceptual artist of growing global acclaim. But nobody had ever suggested that he might also be a terrorist until the morning that he descended into the Union Square subway station in New York.
At the time, Magyar was immersed in a long-running techno-art project calledStainless, creating high-resolution images of speeding subway trains and their passengers, using sophisticated software he created and hardware that he retrofitted himself. The scanning technique he developed—combining thousands of pixel-wide slices into a single image—allows him to catch passengers unawares as they hurtle through dark subway tunnels, fixing them in haunting images filled with detail no ordinary camera can capture.
Magyar set up his standard array of devices—camera, scanner, voltage meters, blue and black cables, battery pack, tripod, laptop—and waited for a train to roll into the station. He hadn’t anticipated the vigilance of post-9/11 New Yorkers, several of whom complained to the police about the longhaired man wielding what looked like a jerry-built piece of surveillance equipment. It didn’t take long before a transit cop approached him.
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