NEWS   ·  January 16, 2014

Art Lab: Cy Kuckenbaker

Cy Kuckenbaker hoped to get 50,000 views of his latest video. He has over 1 million so far. The San Diego filmmaker hit it “big” when he released the first video in his San Diego Studies series back in December 2012. That video featured all of the airplanes landing at the San Diego International Airport in a 4 ½ hour period condensed into half a minute. Much to his surprise, that video quickly gained two million views.

With its success, Kuckenbaker, through a Creative Catalyst Grant from the San Diego Foundation in 2013, teamed up with MOPA to produce a series of videos showcasing subtle patterns that take place in San Diego.

The videos in this series are all time-condensed. He takes a specific period of time and then manipulates the video to show all the activity in 30 to 90 seconds. His latest video shows all the cars on the 163 Freeway in a four-minute stretch collapsed into 90 seconds. That doesn’t sound too drastic, but there is another effect in this video. Kuckenbaker also reorganized the traffic into car color, so all the white cars roll by, then all the gray cars, and so on.

His videos seems simple, but the amount of work, and tedious work to be certain, that goes into one of these edits is staggering. For Cy, who considers these short web videos to be ethnographic studies of the city he loves, hard work is a large part of creating any art. Inspiration is a small part of it. According to Cy, you have to be willing to grind it out day after day to see your vision come to fruition.

Now you can get a glimpse into Kuckenbaker’s artistic process. He will be editing his next video at MOPA on Friday, June 21st from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. General admission to the Museum gets you in to see him work, ask him questions and get to know the artist behind these videos.

You can watch his latest video here:


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Welcome to the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art!

As of July 1, 2023, the Museum of Photographic Arts and The San Diego Museum of Art have merged to become one unified institution. The Museum of Photographic Arts is now the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA).

MOPA@SDMA remains a pay-what-you wish museum open Thursdays through Sundays 11:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you soon!