Rapid Biography in a Society of Evolutionary Lovers

by Tatsuo Unemi and Daniel Bisig
Japanese Page is here.

Love and sex are popular topics of human’s interests widely common in any period in the history and at any place on the earth. These words have been employed for the subjects of any forms of artistic activity such as poem, novel, play, movie, painting, sculpture, music, and so on. Love itself is made up of relation between persons attracted each other. As you can see from the fact that the word “beauty” is typically applied to women, it can be assumed that attractiveness is one of the origins of aesthetics from a viewpoint of evolutionary psychology [1].

For a scientific research to seek the origin of beauty, we developed an agent-based simulator of society of evolutionary lovers. A population of thousands of agents lives in a two dimensional virtual world where they are roaming around. Each agent has its own physical appearance and psychological preference as the sex-influenced hereditary traits. It approaches another agent whose appearance matches its preference. If two agents are attracted each other and stay together in enough time, the female agent may bear a child if the sexes are different. Since the correspondence between sex and appearance is not clearly assigned a priori, half of the couples are homosexual in the initial population. However, the appearance and preference are evolved toward sexual dimorphism, separation of the traits between male and female, thanks to the advantage of heterosexual mating for successful reproduction. To make mating easier, we allow an agent to propose its lover to receive the response of acceptance or refusal. The other traits are also introduced such as activeness, fickleness, tolerance, compromise, and so on.

This simulator is useful not only for a scientific research but also a form of generative art that presents huge number of biographies of agents rapidly. It produces approximately sixty stories of individual lives per second, since it has an ability to simulate one year of virtual world in one second of throughput time for six thousands agents. The system picks up six sample agents to display and announce the life events, such as birth, love, proposal, separation, and death. When a sampled one passed away, another new born agent replaces it. Each agent is called its name randomly assigned from the list of English names for boys and girls.

In the installation, the two dimensional view of the virtual world and the texts of life events are dynamically displayed on the screen, and some of the texts are read loud using speech synthesis by the computer. It sounds sometimes hilarious and sometimes impressive. Human life is a series of happiness and sadness. You may be moved by such stories even though the computer generates them automatically.

  1. Denis Dutton, The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, & Human Evolution, Bloomsbury Pub., 2010.


  1. T. Unemi and D. Bisig: Rapid Biography In A Society Of Evolutionary Lovers, Proceedings of the 20th Generative Art Conference, 431-441, Ravenna, Italy, December 2017. PDF file is here.
  2. T. Unemi and D. Bisig: Browsing the Biographies in an Evolutionary Artificial Society, Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on Computation Communication Aesthetics & X (xCoAx 2018), 212-214, Madrid, Spain, July 11-13, 2018. Proceedings is here.
  3. T. Unemi and D. Bisig: 2D Generative Faces for Evolutionary Social Simulation, Proceedings of the 21st Generative Art Conference, 415-422, Verona, Italy, December 18-20, 2018. PDF file is here.
This piece was awarded Excellence Award of Art Division in the 21st Japan Media Arts Festival.

This simulater runs on macOS X 10.12.
The display arrangement is designed suitable for full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) screen.

Created on September 18, 2017. Updated on December 27, 2018.