Counting Cars is an interface Web site and consulting station that connects Manhattan traffic cams to local New York RSS Internet news of the moment via the vernacular consultation practice of "counting crows." As a performance, I will assist participants to seek the moment’s situational wisdom for a question they might entertain. With the aid of computer equipment, we will consult a webcam from a number of live traffic cams and initiate a programmatic process that utilizes motion detection and frame comparison to count cars and movement within a certain period of time. A number between one and ten is generated as the "car" or "crow" count. This number corresponds to reading from the counting crows rhyme but it will also be used as the key number to search local Manhattan RSS news feeds. The car number is counted down the list to determine the designated story. The first few lines of this news caption is retrieved for the user as the understanding of the counting crows reading. It functions as advice or mood of the moment, both for the participant and for the city. The participant will be given a printout with the relevant text overlaid over a still of the selected traffic cam. The project is meant to explore a reinvented cultural form of prediction and situational consultation. Industrial and institutional practices of surveillance are redirected towards a sense of personal conditions, the portent of city events and the visual enchantment of a vigilant psychic watch.

Participation will be voluntary by walk-in traffic, with no preparation necessary. Hours will be set for my operation and performance. Participants may email for appointments with this time period.

Artwork Generation: Each participant will generate and be given a printout with the relevant news story text overlaid over a still of the selected traffic cam. With the participants permission I will add the original question.
Technical Reqirements: broadband internet access, power plugs, simple table.

"I ask her about the video that runs through the piece, projected onto the back wall. It simply shows a two-lane highway with sparse traffic. A car goes one way, a car goes the other. There's a slot with a digital display that records the time.

“Something about past and future,” she says “What we can know and what we can't.”

The Body Artist, Don De Lillo, p. 109

Will Pappenheimer, Artist
Curriculm Vitae

  Counting Cars

  for Conflux 07

Will Pappenheimer will function as artist, performer, designer, programmer and coordinator of a site software and hardware and the aesthetics of the site. PHP 4.3.9, mySQL 3.23.58 and some Flash programming may need to be commisioned to a freelance programmer.

Counting Crows Rhyme:

One for sorrow,
two for joy,
three for a girl,
four for a boy,
five for silver,
six for gold,
seven for a secret,
never to be told,
eight for a wish,
nine for a kiss,
ten for a time
of joyous bliss

Counting Cars for Finnera Road and Weather Cams
VT 6 Imatra, Finland 3-27-05
previous project sample

7th Ave and 22nd St, New York
Motion detection software is utilized to count cars. Frames are captured and counted at an FTP site.