I'm Feeling Lucky

Timothy Thomasson (CA)

I'm Feeling Lucky is a real-time computer-generated animation that questions relationships to image, geography, virtual space, historical media technology, and mass data collection systems. The work features a 3D virtual landscape that is both historically and geographically ambiguous, generated in real-time using game engine technology. This virtual landscape is then populated with thousands of figures sourced from the vast pool of 360-degree image data collected by Google Street View. These figures are processed through a deep neural network, so they become three-dimensional models in the virtual space, each frozen in their captured pose. The work interrogates mass image collection systems, as many of these individuals may not have been aware that their photo was taken by Google, let alone anticipate being placed in this new, strange setting. Many thousands of figures sourced from all over the world are randomly selected to inhabit the endless landscape together. 

 The work takes into consideration the panorama paintings of the 19th century as objects of historical, cultural, and perceptual significance, and situates them within contemporary media contexts. Panoramas are rotunda structures in which large 360 degree paintings depict sublime natural landscapes, battle scenes, religious events, or large cityscapes, characterized by their lack of framed boundaries and the inability to be viewed in their entirety with a single gaze. These panorama structures are theorized as part of the lineage of immersive media technologies and can be analyzed as proto-cinematic/virtual reality forms. With Im Feeling Lucky, the virtual environment is generated and populated procedurally, so the panoramic image becomes infinite as the virtual camera slowly pans across the landscape endlessly, portraying the stillness of painting at odds with the expectation of fast, high-speed movement and technical progression of digital imagery.

 The work takes into consideration the panorama paintings of the 19th century as objects of historical, cultural, and perceptual significance, and situates them within contemporary media contexts. Panoramas are rotunda structures in which large 360 degree paintings depict sublime natural landscapes, battle scenes, religious events, or large cityscapes, characterized by their lack of framed boundaries and the inability to be viewed in their entirety with a single gaze. These panorama structures are theorized as part of the lineage of immersive media technologies and can be analyzed as proto-cinematic/virtual reality forms. With *Im Feeling Lucky*, the virtual environment is generated and populated procedurally, so the panoramic image becomes infinite as the virtual camera slowly pans across the landscape endlessly, portraying the stillness of painting at odds with the expectation of fast, high-speed movement and technical progression of digital imagery.

I'm Feeling Lucky is a real-time computer-generated animation that questions relationships to image, geography, virtual space, historical media technology, and mass data collection systems. The work features a 3D virtual landscape that is both historically and geographically ambiguous, generated in real-time using game engine technology. This virtual landscape is then populated with thousands of figures sourced from the vast pool of 360-degree image data collected by Google Street View. These figures are processed through a deep neural network, so they become three-dimensional models in the virtual space, each frozen in their captured pose. The work interrogates mass image collection systems, as many of these individuals may not have been aware that their photo was taken by Google, let alone anticipate being placed in this new, strange setting. Many thousands of figures sourced from all over the world are randomly selected to inhabit the endless landscape together. 

 The work takes into consideration the panorama paintings of the 19th century as objects of historical, cultural, and perceptual significance, and situates them within contemporary media contexts. Panoramas are rotunda structures in which large 360 degree paintings depict sublime natural landscapes, battle scenes, religious events, or large cityscapes, characterized by their lack of framed boundaries and the inability to be viewed in their entirety with a single gaze. These panorama structures are theorized as part of the lineage of immersive media technologies and can be analyzed as proto-cinematic/virtual reality forms. With Im Feeling Lucky, the virtual environment is generated and populated procedurally, so the panoramic image becomes infinite as the virtual camera slowly pans across the landscape endlessly, portraying the stillness of painting at odds with the expectation of fast, high-speed movement and technical progression of digital imagery.

timothythomasson.com/i'm-feeling-lucky

Timothy Thomasson 

Sound design & composition: Tatum Wilson 

With support from: Canada Council for the Arts, Société des arts technologiques (SAT) Residency Program, Canadian Cultural Center Paris

Timothy Thomasson (CA) is a Montreal-based artist. His work questions the ways in which moving images are produced and consumed in historical and contemporary contexts, looking particularly at the effects of computer-generated images and emerging technologies on society, culture, aesthetics, and perception. His work has been exhibited at numerous galleries and media festivals internationally. 

Timothy Thomasson (CA) is a Montreal-based artist. His work questions the ways in which moving images are produced and consumed in historical and contemporary contexts, looking particularly at the effects of computer-generated images and emerging technologies on society, culture, aesthetics, and perception. His work has been exhibited at numerous galleries and media festivals internationally. 

In I’m Feeling Lucky by Canadian artist Timothy Thomasson, a historically and geographically ambiguous 3D virtual landscape is generated in real-time with game engine technology and populated with figures from Google Street View. Processed by a deep neural network, thousands of anonymous figures taken from all over the world are randomly selected to inhabit the landscape. The work is based on 19th century panoramas: all-encompassing circular paintings that featured spectacular natural landscapes or battle scenes that completely surrounded the viewer. The panoramas’ immersive scale aimed to condition and mediate perception, thus linking the spectacle and scale of the time with the contemporary scales of imaging and data collection undertaken by Google. Images in the work are continually produced in run time as a virtual camera rotates around the space endlessly and at times almost imperceptibly, thus creating a disjunction between the stillness of landscape painting and the expectation of high frame rate digital images. The jury was impressed with how I’m Feeling Lucky subtly links histories of geography and historical media technology with current issues around mass data collection.

In I’m Feeling Lucky by Canadian artist Timothy Thomasson, a historically and geographically ambiguous 3D virtual landscape is generated in real-time with game engine technology and populated with figures from Google Street View. Processed by a deep neural network, thousands of anonymous figures taken from all over the world are randomly selected to inhabit the landscape. The work is based on 19th century panoramas: all-encompassing circular paintings that featured spectacular natural landscapes or battle scenes that completely surrounded the viewer. The panoramas’ immersive scale aimed to condition and mediate perception, thus linking the spectacle and scale of the time with the contemporary scales of imaging and data collection undertaken by Google. Images in the work are continually produced in run time as a virtual camera rotates around the space endlessly and at times almost imperceptibly, thus creating a disjunction between the stillness of landscape painting and the expectation of high frame rate digital images. The jury was impressed with how I’m Feeling Lucky subtly links histories of geography and historical media technology with current issues around mass data collection.