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HERMETIC ENGINEERING: THE ART OF IAN CHENG

Ian Cheng, Emissary in the Squat of Gods, 2015, live simulation, sound, indefinite duration.

Our best machines are made of sunshine; they are all light and clean because they are nothing but signals, electromagnetic waves, a section of a spectrum, and these machines are eminently portable, mobile—a matter of immense human pain in Detroit and Singapore. People are nowhere near so fluid, being both material and opaque. Cyborgs are ether, quintessence.

Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto” (1985)

UNKNOWABLE SIGILS litter the landscape. This is the territory of an ancient community, a culture that drifts in a state of preconsciousness, the shamanic schizoid oblivion that was once the human condition. In Ian Cheng’s Emissary in the Squat of Gods, 2015—an animated simulation that unfolds stochastically, not according to the intent of an author but to the ramifying whims of code, a story with events but no definitive narrative and no predetermined end—everyone

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