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TIPPING POINT

ty pritchard
seann ringwall
nick lippert
DEDICATED

to those who lived lives to the fullest and never turned back

to those who live lives to prosper

to those who will live lives with the consequenses

may we learn from you all


TABLE OF CONTENTS
written documents
cover letter............................................................................4
executive summary..............................................................5
annotated bibliography.........................................................6
proposal................................................................................7
presentation documents
digital presentation............................................................12
presentation boards...........................................................14
COVER LETTER

The LostThe
Islanders
Lost Islanders
Easter island: Suite 1100
Easter island: Suite 1100
Date: Nov. 23, 2009
Date: Nov. 23, 2009
Kabbie Broadway
SL: Teaching
Kabbie15 Broadway
SL: Teaching 15
Dear Mr. Broadway,
Dear Mr. Broadway,

Everyone is familiar with the icon of a Moai, or Easter Island head; but few know the story
behind what they represent. The story of Easter Island is one of anguish and hardship,
which is a story that cannot go untold. We the lost islanders mean to convey it through
our design.

In response to your inquiry we feel that we can lend you and all of your visitors a
unique experience which is informative and also leaves them inspired. We, the
islanders, are proposing to develop some land that you own at teaching15. We want
to convey to the people that overpopulation is society’s most pressing issue today.
We have come from an example of the effects of overpopulation at Easter Island
and want to use our mistakes as an example of the dangers they may face today.

We have developed a few designs for the project and envision a journey for the
wandering visitor which lay their next footsteps. The tunnel will narrow and come
to a choke. At the choke lay a Moai who tells you the tale of our struggles with
resources. He will tell you our tale in detail and how it conveys to today’s
society.

It is important to understand history and to know how important it is in


today’s world. Many do not know the story of Easter Island and it needs to
be said that if we do not stop living the way we are Easter Island will no
longer be an island rather a world. With the direction we take today no
wonder we have so many problems but there is one truth; all of those
problems do in fact revolve back to overpopulation. It really is the only
problem.

I believe it is important to convey to your visitors the importance of over


population and the narrowing of resources. The tunnel represents the
narrowing of resources an eventually there is only enough to exist.
Does the tunnel end, yes it does. To a point all sides meet
representing what happened at Easter Island, the complete depletion
of resources.

We are beginning the final development processes but your input is


much appreciated we are prepared to collaborate with you any
ideas that you envision from this. For your consideration we look
forward to hearing what you think.

The lost islanders,


ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

The research was aimed at overpopulation and the prevalent problem in today’s world. We really wanted to address it as an issue that
can be thought about. We also did some research on a historical example of the problem of overpopulation. Easter Island was the historical
example that we ran with and seems to fit well with what we are trying to convey. We are not researching how to solve the issue; we are simply
bringing awareness to the problem.

Conners, L. C. (Director). (2008). The 11th hour [Motion Picture].


The 11th hour takes a look at the current state of the world, with an emphasis on how it got to where it is because of humans. It looks
at the ongoing conflict between the two most complicated systems on earth, nature and humans. Both are trying to continue their lives
however humans won’t survive without nature, but nature will do just fine without humans. I thought this video brought up a lot of good
points. It doesn’t strictly deal with overpopulation but most of the issues that are brought up, like resource consumption and global
warming will only get worse as we continue to overpopulate. The points brought up in the movie will lead to research to further under-
stand their causes, however most have the underlying problems of overpopulation.

Dysart, J. (2009, November). Learning: the next generation. American School Board Journal , pp. 30-31. Retrieved from Academic search premier.
Dysart’s article reveals many of the uses schools today are looking for in Second Life. The article mentions how many schools today
face a student population that is increasingly tech savvy and able to learn beyond the classroom. It lists many pros and cons to the use
of Second Life in schools such as increasing interest in topics and exploring creations not possible in the real world as well as increasing
global communication. Some of the downfalls were that not everyone is so willing to accept Second Life and the cost that can go along
with it. I found the article helpful for this project as it shows the pros and cons of Second Life and how it is being used in educational
situations. It also provided links to other educational places within second life.

Graf, C. (2002). The mystery of Easter Island. Faces (07491387), 22(4), Retrieved from ebscohost.
This article tells the story of Easter Island and the hypothesis of its history. A good article to just tell the story of Easter Island and the
production of the statues. The island story is of speculation, but we have a marker to show us a different culture than today. What would
we leave behind as a marker to our past.

Prarie Public. (2001, December). Secrets of the lost empire, Easter Island. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/lostempires/easter/
The PBS website that explains the Easter Island story. It links to multiple other sources and a good branching point.

Rainbird, P. (2002) A message for our future? The Rapa Nui eco-disaster and Pacific island environments. World Archeology, (33)3, Retrieved from
http://www.jstor.org/stable/827878
This article uses comparisons with what happened at easer island and what could very well happen in the future in a much larger scale.
This article proves to make good arguments and is good to relate the past with the present.

Sandbach, F. (1978). The Rise and fall of the limits to growth debate. Social Studies of Science, 8(4), Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/sta-
ble/284820
This article gathers the first real concerns with this topic. During the seventies was when the first large oil crisis hit, raising concerns
about other natural resources. The article is divided into major points on this topic including: resource management, population growth,
and how these two impact our environment in the U.S.
This can be used as another example to tie the reality of this crisis back to the user. Taking this issue and applying it to the last place we
thought it would hit, home.

Sauper, H. (Director). (2004). Darwins’s nightmare [Motion Picture].


This film travels through the lives of a starving population in Tanzania. The people are experiencing a lack of food to sustain the popula-
tion and fighting to keep what they do have. The country is in a sad state of despair and has little hope for the future. Because of the
daily struggles for the basics of life, the people have resorted to drug trafficking and militia organizations to sustain their lives.
This film helps our project by providing a modern day Easter Island. We can see how our civilization handles something so primitive. The
struggle to sustain our basic living resources will only lead to the civilization’s demise.

Smith, G. (2009, Summer). Planet girth. Earth Island Journal , p. 15. Retrieved from Jstor.
Smith’s article dealt with how our current state of mind is wrong. Smith mentioned how we continually strive to meet the demands, but in
a growing population, we are always changing things to meet more people. He mentions how wrong he things this is and compares it to
the chaos theory, only squared because we seem to be doing even more damage. I thought this article brought up some good points. I
would say that it was fairly slanted towards the affluence of people today and how bigger is not always better, which I agree with. How-
ever, it did not mention in too many specifics problems with overpopulation other than demand is greater. He did mention that there are
too many rich people that just don’t care and only feed the demand.

Smith, R. (1993). Overpopulation and overconsumption. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 1285(2), Retrieved from ebscohost.
Smith brings up the issue of our worlds overpopulation and overconsumption. It is presented to have a relation to the topic. It is a very
real problem and something must be done to prevent a larger scale Easter Island event.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

We understand that the request for proposal is calling for a feature to be added to the Virtual Peace Garden
that is capable of informing and entertaining the users of Second Life, as well as drawing the users in to expe-
rience the peace garden. It is also understood that peace gardens today have become more than just places it
sit and walk, but places where people can escape to be inspired to act. In the case of the Virtual Peace Garden,
the design that we have proposed looks to bring information to the critical issue that is overpopulation, which
has been called the only problem we face today.

Our design incorporates the use of the Moai, also known as the heads of Easter Island, which is an example
we used throughout our design as a study of a people that overpopulated themselves to death. Smaller ver-
sions of the Moai are able to be placed in popular locations within Second Life that will encourage users to
click on the heads and interact. Upon interaction the user is teleported into the Virtual Peace Garden, at the
mouth of our proposed tunnel.

The tunnel is so large that the ability to recognize it is slim, therefore encouraging users to go on and explore
either the tunnel or the peace garden. Upon entering the tunnel, the floor becomes illuminated with the foot-
steps of the previous users to encounter the tunnel, instantly providing light and direction to encourage users
to go deeper into the tunnel. The footsteps represent the human footprint, which at first doesn’t seem to have
an impact on the user currently experiencing the tunnel, as the prints are fairly spread out. The tunnel begins
to converge on the user, which won’t be noticed until it is too late. As the user continues their journey down
the tunnel, the space between the steps diminish until it is a solid light emanating from the floor to the point
of blinding the user. The ceiling at this point will be just above the user’s head and the floor will be too bright
to look at directly. This is the tipping point. At this point the tunnel ends and opens up into a large room, con-
taining another Moai, encouraging even more interaction. This Moai stands nearly thirty feet and narrates the
story of what happened to the people of Easter Island is told and relates it the current state of our world. The
story is told and reinforced with video displayed on screens around the large room, showing images of what
happened at Easter Island and what is currently happening here in today’s society.

This design allows for multiple points of interaction between Second Life avatars and the message conveyed,
providing entertainment with an educational side. We put a focus on encouraging the interactivity which we
feel will allow for more users to come and experience the Virtual Peace Garden as well as leaving them with a
more memorable and meaningful experience that should allow them to take action in the real world.
PROPOSAL
Introduction
“Overpopulation is the only problem”, as Dr.
Charles Hall said in the documentary The 11th
Hour. It is true, all of the current global problems
can be linked directly back to overpopulation.
Food shortages: overpopulation. Rising
energy costs: overpopulation. Depleting
resources: overpopulation. Global warming:
overpopulation. Pollution: overpopulation.
Everything else that arises because of these
problems can therefore be related back to
overpopulation. Our topic and solution will be a
powerful memorial for the Virtual Peace Garden.
Our group, The Lost Islanders, has seen the effect
that overpopulation has on an environment and
feels that the most powerful way to address the
issue is through a digital memorial in Second Life.
Our plan includes pulling inspiration from Easter
Island, as a case study of a group of people who
populated their land beyond the carrying capacity
and used up all the resources in the process.
Because there were no more resources to support
the population, starvation, disease, and civil
war took over a once peaceful and established
civilization. The population dropped during this
crisis from nearly 2,500 in 1720 to 150 in 1870.
Our design is intended to simply bring the issue of
overpopulation to the masses and not try to solve
the problem. The design will distribute knowledge
to anyone interested in a way that conveys the
pressing importance of this issue. The Peace
Garden provides the proper context for people to
find out about overpopulation where they can think
and relax.
Problem
As presented in the RFP, our proposed design
is cohesive with what is currently in the Virtual
Peace Garden and can combine education and
entertainment. The design is to tackle some
issue facing the world and bring it to the masses.
We feel the issue of overpopulation needs to be
understood and brought to the forefront. Once the
issue is realized we can move to bring solutions to
the problems. Because this issue is a cause to so
many others, we can see the benefit of solving the
source within the resulting issues. An interactive
element is another feature our design includes
that is used to draw the visitor into the focus of the
structure.
Second Life doesn’t pose too many design
problems and actually allows us to be fairly
free with the design. However the fact that this
design is to take place in a virtual world creates
a challenge for us to design in an engaging
manner that encourages people to visit it and
interact with it. Being educational but at the same
time entertaining challenges us as designers to
understand the Second Life software and realize
what will get people’s attention in essentially a
limitless world. Our solution to the problem is a
simple and effective design that grasps a viewer’s
attention to draw them into the structure.
The concept of having an idea in second life lead to
real actions and movements started in people’s first
life is great for our issue to receive lots of support
from multiple demographics. The expectations of
the design concept will allow for our creativity to
take advantage of the Second Life world as our site.
Solution
Our design includes:
-A long tunnel that narrows to the far end
from all four sides
-At the end, a large room containing a Moai
that starts narrating the demise of Easter Island
-The walls become like large television
screens that show the narration happening around
the user
-A dramatic floor that records past user’s
footsteps and transforms them into light sources
within the tunnel

Our proposed design takes advantage of the virtual
physics that Second Life Presents. This is a new
area of design that we have not yet explored. The
conventional laws of physics can be warped into
new exciting areas.
Our design consists of a long tunnel that constricts
the further a person journeys into the experience.
the far end, a large Easter Island head stands
looking back at the opening. The Moai is capable
of interacting with the user by narrating a journey
through the demise of Easter Island and how the
people overpopulated the local environment until
they eventually killed themselves off.
The structure itself is very large at the beginning
to draw people to the simple massiveness of the
opening; so large that one may even unknowingly
wander into the structure. The tunnel would appear
dark until the user makes their way into it, at
which point the steps of previous users become
illuminated guiding the way down the tunnel.
The illuminated steps of the past users are the only
light source generated in the tunnel. The tunnel
goes on for a while in order for a person to really
feel the presence of the dark space and footsteps
of previous visitors. Before the user notices the
tunnel has been constricting around them the
entire time, it becomes noticeable towards the end
of the tunnel as the footsteps that were once single
steps have now become a single blinding light. This
symbolizes that there were so many people that
have taken this single path into the Islander head
chamber that the footsteps become innumerable
and just a mass.
Upon completion of the almost entirely constricted
tunnel, the visitors will then be entering into a
room of large proportions with a large Moai head
in the room. The user is presented with no other
choice but to interact with the head which becomes
animated and has a deep booming voice (imagine
James Earl Jones). The voice then takes the user
along the journey that was the lives of Easter
Islanders. The walls of this giant room are all
covered in screens that are able to simulate images
along with the narrative that fully encapsulate the
viewer. The story presented is left open-ended so it
is left up the viewer to decide how it ends.
An example of the story:
Our great island of the Western Pacific
was once populated by a massive
amount of giant palms, lush natural
foods, and beautiful dwellings. But
in four short generations, this was
all lost. The trees were felled for the
production of the Rapa Nui’s statues,
or Moai and large ocean fairing canoes
to fish. The large Moai were too large
for the people to move by hand. The
Rapa Nui used what was plentiful to
them, the trees. Nearly three quarter
of the trees were cut and stripped so
the heads could be moved around the
island.
Our population was also well over
the carrying capacity of the island
we inhabited. With most of the trees
cut for movement of the Moai, the
remaining vegetation didn’t take long
to be used up for our survival. Our
fires required fuel, our canoes needed
replacing, and our children did not
learn from our mistakes.
The following generations made the
same decisions. Once the realization
set in that the end was coming, civil
war struck. The remaining resources
were so valuable that we paid for
them with our brother’s blood. The
final precious trees were cut in order
to feed our selfish wants. The fields
that were once so plentiful and fed the
masses of people were now barren.
The soil had no more life to give. The
loss of the trees resulted in loss of the
canoe, marooning our fishing efforts
to the beaches of the island.
With minimal resources, and a no
way to venture to another land, the
population dropped. Disease, famine,
and war worked together to bring the
population from a once thriving 2500
people to just 150 of the strongest.
Our selfishness overcame us like a
drowning man with pockets full of
gold.
The past of the Rapa Nui is not
different from the current state of
affairs your world is facing today. The
earth is at carrying capacity and the
population is expected to rise above
9 billion by 2050. The planet Earth
has enough resources to only sustain
around 1 billion people without the
use of technology. With the great
expansions in technology we have
been able to make our future brighter,
but at a cost. We have stumbled upon
our environment’s tipping point. It is
time to take better advantage of the
land we eat off, live on, and call home.
The user is then teleported up to the roof of the
room they were just in looking back over what they
have just been through. This lets the person who
just experienced this space see it from another
perspective and contemplate the experience.
Feasibility
The structure will be most effective while existing
in the virtual world where physics don’t apply. The
design stretches beyond common limitations that
would take away from the piece. Some problems
that we see with the design will be creating a floor
that is capable of tracking the footsteps of previous
visitors. This is a fairly crucial piece to this design
and if it is not pulled off in such a way that conveys
the footsteps and doesn’t just appear as random
splotches.
Another limitation that is yet to be explored is the
ability to blanket the end room in screens capable
of show a movie or slideshow of pictures. These
are both really minor problems that don’t affect the
design that much. A simple understanding of the
design features within Second Life would allow us
to explore the options of the lighting and video.
Another problem that was crucial to you is bringing
people to the site. An option we’ve explored is
creating these massive Islander Heads and finding
a way to place them around the world in Second
Life, such that anyone trying to interact with them
will be teleported to the entrance of the tunnel.
This isn’t all that big of a problem either, a better
understanding of what is and isn’t possible in
Second Life would allow this to be explored further.
Qualifications
Our group consists of three 3rd year architecture
students with plenty of design intelligence.
Throughout our schooling we have had to tackle
numerous design problems presenting all sorts
of situations. The proposed design for the VPG
utilized the design skills we have acquired up
to this point. These skills were used to meet the
needs of the client in a way that is more than
what could be expected. Although none of us
are extremely versed in Second Life, we have
had to learn several other computer programs in
a relatively quick fashion and the same could be
done again if it is called upon. We don’t feel that
the overall proposed design suffers from any of
the mentioned conflictions and we are more than
qualified to design spaces, which have done and
proposed for the Virtual Peace Garden.
Conclusion
This is our vision of what we see being placed
within the Virtual Peace Garden. Our design brings
overpopulation to the masses and leaves them with
decision left in their hands, whether they choose to
ignore the presentation or take the time to reflect
and possible start a movement in their first life.
The design features a structure that is instantly
recognizable to most people and should encourage
people to interact with it bringing them to the VPG.
We believe our design covers everything you
were looking for and goes beyond by utilizing the
provided software to the best of our knowledge.
PRESENTATION DOCUMENTS

digital presentation
presentation boards
ma

Earth’s population is at this now.


Can our planet support us now?
How much more can the planet
hold in the future?
What can we learn from our past?

The world’s population


spread is influenced by
economics, not by natural
resources. The wealthy are
using less developed coun-
tries for their resources
once the weathy’s have run
out.
One could stand on the summit and see
almost every point on the island. The per-
? son who felled the last tree could see it
t
?
was the last tree. But he still felled it.
? This is what is so worrying. Humandkind’s
covetousness is so boundless. (Rainbird)