Do You Feel Lucky?
*Collaborated project with Bradford F Lyon, Ph.D
graphic designer- Dan Levi
"Evolution has made homo sapiens, like other social mammals, a xenophobic creature. Sapians distinctively divide humanity into two parts: we and they, .”
― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
In “Do You Feel Lucky?” I try to confront the viewers with how fortunate we, as citizens of 1st world countries, are in comparison to those who come from a less favorable background. In many aspects, our background is the single most influential determining factor for how life will unfold. And while there are many examples on how “the sky is the limit” for most citizens of 3rd world countries the background is actually the limit
I often wonder, is it true that we have become what Simon Aanholt calls “cultural psychopaths?” can we feel real empathy towards the other? mainly now when “the other” floats our streets and make the rise of many xenophobic populist governments. The chances of an Egyptian girl to receive female genital mutilation is 90%. The odds that a man from Sierra Leone will live over 50 is 15%. While first world countries race to mars, some countries face water crisis that in some generations would make them physically deformed. Even many of the immigrants that live as minorities or foreigners in first world countries face poverty, unemployment, and face limited opportunity to break away from their backgrounds.
I want to create empathy, through self-awareness, confusion, and embarrassment. Through a playful installation, I enable the spectators to feel how does it feel when life chooses your destiny. A destiny that is very hard to change, despite us wanting to believe otherwise. The viewers could see how close they may have been to an alternative course of life, or for the lack of better word - faith. The casino is a good example of both being detached, dislocated from the environment, and constantly playing against odds
How does it work?
The information which serves as the basis for the “lottery” is based on" Visualizing World and Death Rates" created by Brad Lyon which had a design contributions from Bill Snebold. The figures draws on a real statistical data of birth and death, arranged according to countries, based on the CIA world factbook, GDP figures and more. We use real data, to create a database, used in the application that will be on the screens of a series of slot machines. The installation will consist of a series of machines, all second-hand renovates, sculptured and showing the application we created, instead of its original game content. The app will allow the spectators/gamers to be reborn and regain a new background, for the better or for the worse. It is all pure luck. The application will show the gender, location, life expectancy, education, and more. The data will be based on real-time simulated information. .
A learner with lots of curiosity, Brad has a Ph.D. in mathematics from Vanderbilt University and an appreciation of the arts to help convey the sublime miracles of our existence.
He is from Arkansas (USA) and lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.