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