A Society of Stickpeople is a real-time video installation based on a population simulation. In providing an interface that allows viewers to affect the outcome of the simulation, my hope is that the piece invites conversation about sustainability and related topics. A simple interface presents the viewer with a choice: A New Beginning (button 1), Will You Act Sustainably? (button 2), Or Not? (button 3). Button 1 resets the simulation, button 2 inserts a "sustainably-acting" stickperson into the world, and button 3 inserts an "unsustainably-acting" stickperson into the world.
When a sustainable stickperson builds, he will produce a gold-colored building. When an unsustainable stickperson builds, he will produce a black building that decays (shrinks) more quickly than the gold buildings. As the simulation progresses and the stickpeople eventually die off, the world is left with an empty landscape of black and gold buildings, the only remainder of the society's existence. The viewers are invited to contemplate the rise and fall of their own lives and societies. What we build and how we build it - these things will outlast us and leave an imprint on those that follow, and on the earth itself.
While the differences between a sustainable and unsustainable population are subtle (in this simulation), they are noticeable, especially as the choices and inputs of many viewers aggregate. This points to the need for corporate action to affect appreciable change in our world - change starts with the individual, but a successful transition to sustainable practices will require action from a great many of us.
View more work at nathanselikoff.com