Bus Obscura: Showing You the World Like Never Before

April 30, 2008

Bus ObscuraI’ve said before that sometimes travel is where you find it. You aren’t always going to be able to afford the safari in Africa, the bungee jumping tour of New Zealand, or the month of Eurailing around Europe. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit at home, content with trips to the mall or the grocery store.

So how about looking at the world upside-down and backwards? From inside a camera? That moves? You can do it on the Bus Obscura. The Bus Obscura is a common school bus that has been transformed into a pinhole camera. Or hundreds of cameras, actually. The windows are blacked out (except where the driver needs to see – there’s a black curtain hanging behind him to shut out the light to the rest of the bus) and there are hundreds of pinholes made in them. The images that come through are reflected onto screens, so as the bus drives, you’re surrounded by all these little upside-down, backwards images, just what you would see from inside a camera.

The concept was created by artist Simon Lee in New York. Over the past few years, he’s created many buses, trams and vans for the project and they’ve traveled Africa, Europe, and the U.S.

Most recently the bus stopped in the San Francisco area and I got a 20-minute tour of my hometown like I’d never seen it before. The sky was down, the grass was up, the music was haunting, and when i finally stepped off the bus I felt as if I’d been in another universe. It was quick, but it was just what I needed to refresh my sense of adventure and excitement for new experiences and destinations.

Unfortunately, I can’t find a list of other cities the bus is visiting. The Bus Obscura seems to have a schedule obscura. Keep an eye on your local event listings though, and if the bus is anywhere near you, take a free ride. If it’s not, have a look at what others have seen through the lens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWbo4WsLmyg 

Or maybe you can come up with your own new way to look at things.

One comment

  1. sounds so neat!
    another fun thing to do in LA is learn how to surf! try out this site,


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