John’s work explores the emergence of complex collective patterns from simple individual behavior. His work is heavily influenced by Thomas Schelling, the 2005 Nobel prize laureate in economics. Small changes in individual behavior often cause big changes in resulting interactions. John uses computers to simulate living environments. He programs the individual behaviors of the artificial organisms and lets them create their own ecologies and patterns. The results are fascinating and sometimes unexpected.
Fireflies (2005). The patterns created on the LED panel are made by digital fireflies that move around their environment to find the ideal temperature for their existence. If it’s too hot they move away from the other fireflies. If it’s too cold they hang out together. This abstraction reflects the way we humans also lead our lives. We move around pulled by emotional forces in various directions. Looking from a distance we can see an intricate dance of life.