The work of the American artist Ian Cheng (born 1984 in Los Angeles, lives and works in New York) explores the nature of mutation and people's capacity to relate to change. Drawing on principles of video game design, improvisation, and Darwinian brutality, Cheng has developed so-called “live simulations,” virtual living ecosystems that begin with basic programmed properties, but that are left to evolve without authorial control or aim. His simulations model the dynamics of often-imaginary organisms and ecologies, but do so with the unforgiving causality found in nature itself. Cheng, who studied cognitive science at the University of California, Berkeley, describes his simulations as akin to a “neurological gym”: a format for viewers to deliberately exercise the feelings of confusion, anxiety, and cognitive dissonance that accompany the experience of unrelenting change.
JRP|Editions - Monographs
Documenting Ian Cheng's latest “live simulations”—virtual living ecosystems in autonomous evolution—this monograph engages in a dialogue between art, new technologies and neurosciences.