The Virtual Kinka Kuji project (1999-2000) explored the intersection of virtual reality and emergent properties found in live, chaotic data streams, such as the stock market. An artistic sketch of the beautiful Kinka Kuji (UNESCO World Heritage Site) Temple in Kyoto Japan was selected for its beautiful buildings and surrounding gardens and forests.
We designed artificial life 'fireflies' to inhabit the neighboring temple gardens that were each connected to a stock on the US stock market. Since the opening/closing times of the US market were almost exactly opposite time zones in Japan, this provided a natural timing for the fireflies to come out in the evening and disappear at dawn.
Each firefly wold receive 'suggestions' from its associated stock from the market, and in turn, the artifical life codebase would incorporate this suggestion into its decisionmaking set to establish its behavior. These behaviors included flying faster, slower, flying radius, height, delay in appearing in the forest, or early death.
This paper was published in IEEE Multimedia:
S.T. Refsland, T. Ojika, Robert Berry, Jr., The Living Virtual Kinka Kuji Temple: A Dynamic Environment, IEEE Multimedia Magazine, April-June 2000, Vol. 7, No.2, pp 65-67.