Experiments in Digital Chronophotography

Posted on March 27th, 2010 in Society of Stickpeople. 3 Comments.

What if you could capture, in one image, the entire “evolution” of a society or ecosystem? This concept is at the heart of my 2006 Society of Stickpeople code. An OpenGL program simulates various iconic stages of life – birth, play, love, work, rest, travel, and death – using simple finite state machines. By manipulating the rendering style of the program to resemble “digital chronophotography” (a virtual long-exposure photograph), I was able to generate a wide variety of evocative results. I chose the following images out of nearly fifty runs of the simulation.

A Society of Stickpeople (captured, #31) by Nathan Selikoff

A Society of Stickpeople (captured, #31) by Nathan Selikoff. 2006. Dimensions variable. Open edition print.

This first image was shown at SIGGRAPH 2006 and was the subject of an Art Sketch (see Tech Notes for more details).

A Society of Stickpeople (captured, #33) by Nathan Selikoff

A Society of Stickpeople (captured, #33) by Nathan Selikoff. 2006. Dimensions variable. Open edition print.

I am continually fascinated by the diversity and complexity of the images that can come from a simple set of instructions given to a computer. These pieces in particular have an intriguing sense of depth and narrative, the whole story of history wrapped up in single images, visual imprints of the past, all that remains of a once flourishing society.

A Society of Stickpeople (captured, #45) by Nathan Selikoff

A Society of Stickpeople (captured, #45) by Nathan Selikoff. 2006. Dimensions variable. Open edition print.

3 thoughts on “Experiments in Digital Chronophotography

On July 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm, Exhibition Documentation – Process & Influence « The Art of Nathan Selikoff said:

[…] A Society of Stickpeople (three digital chronophotography prints) […]

On July 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm, Society of Stickpeople Tech Notes « The Art of Nathan Selikoff said:

[…] unfolding dynamics of the population. Later, the program was changed to experiment with the idea of digital chronophotography, or a way to capture in one frame the essence of each particular simulated run. This was achieved […]

On August 12, 2013 at 10:21 pm, A New Beginning | Nathan Selikoff said:

[…] program, attempting to capture the entire “evolution” of the Society of Stickpeople in one still image. Historically, chronophotography was one way that artists and scientists captured motion in this […]

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