Ian Cheng, Emissary Forks at Perfection (detail), 2015, ongoing live digital simulation, dimensions variable.


Ian Cheng

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Limmatstrasse 270
February 20–May 16, 2016

Curated by Raphael Gygax

In the bleak ahistorical dreamscapes of Ian Cheng’s “live simulations”—indeterminate virtual ecosystems governed by a basic set of programmed evolutionary laws—vaguely avian clots writhe over barren tundra, Shiba Inus collude in a thicket, children become puppets become zombies, and geologic formations amass and crumble. Each simulation looks like a digital Darwinian snow globe filled with discrete elements that collide and mutate; it’s a world continually shaken to thwart gravity and narrative alike. For his first solo exhibition at a museum in Europe, Cheng, who studied cognitive science and worked at George Lucas’s Industrial Light & Magic before staking out an art practice, will present a new, gallery-spanning commission that builds on his epic Emissary Forks at Perfection, 2015. The accompanying monograph from JRP|Ringier will include essays by Gygax, Cheng, and the late psychologist Julian Jaynes.