Video: Grocery Trip video turns supermarket into Fear and Loathing

Screenshot from Pouff's Grocery trip, a lysergic deep dream music video featuring a walk through a super market.

For a while in mid 2015, the Internet at large took a plunge into something history might remember as the Summer of Deep Dream. And now, with the Grocery Trip video, the weirdness is spreading to ordinary suburban supermarkets…

This phenomenon is related to the bizarre, psychedelic output from a Deep Learning software package released by Google. Said software, Deep Dream, can be used to visually layer feedback loops of image recognition, often with artefacts resembling objects like animals from the photos used for “training” the software.

With some modification, Google’s machine learning tricks became possible to apply to videos as well. Some of the first attempts at this were clips from lysergic cult standards like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and 2011: A Space Odyssey.

Even before this craziness reached mainstream media, communities were starting to form around making art with Deep Dream tools. To our great joy, we’ve just found a real keeper in a growing pool of original Deep Dream work: “Grocery Trip” by Austin based US artist Pouff.

As implied by its title, “Grocery Trip” opens doors to strange new worlds you wouldn’t expect to find in your local supermarket. Newcomers should be warned that this gets… a little hairy. Seasoned Internet Explorers might recognize image artifacts from data sets of dogs now familiar from many Deep Dream projects.

Based on the Youtube thread for the “Grocery Trip” video, artist Pouff seems like a nice internet citizen. Good discussions are found, including tips on how to get into the DeepDream Animator software and a pun or two.

Conversation between Jason "Professor" Fennec and Youtube artist Pouff. J: This is why everything you buy at the grocery store has a safety seal. We wouldn't want people randomly tripping balls, would we? P: No, safety seals are to keep out the dog hair.

It’s worth noting that results like the “Grocery Trip” video aren’t achieved by applying random Instagram filters on a video. Quite a lot of tinkering with complicated software will be needed for consistently interesting Deep Dream weirdness. In the comment section for the video, Pouff also mentions that “Grocery Trip” took about 50 hours to render into a redistributable video file.

Anyone who’s played with video editing can that rendering special effects requires CPU power. A nice computer is good to have too: serious video work isn’t fun on a laptop with the fan noise of a jet engine during hours or days of processing.

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