This screening and discussion with Ian Cheng marks the completion of his Emissary trilogy, recently acquired by MoMA, and on view at MoMA PS1, April 9–September 10, 2017. Emissary comprises a trio of Cheng’s “live simulations,” animations that explore the evolution of cognition and the ecological conditions that shape it. Composed of three interconnected episodes, Cheng’s trilogy centers on the lives of emissary figures who attempt to enact narrative goals within a simulated ecology, a volcanic landscape that evolves from the ancient past to the distant future. Using video game engines, Cheng produces a non-looping, infinitely generating series of visual combinations with infinite duration and variability. Eschewing the fidelity to photorealistic imagery often prioritized in digital image production, Cheng’s simulations map behavioral movements that unfold in real time and result in an entirely new approach to image making. The screening is accompanied by a discussion with the artist and Stuart Comer, Chief Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art.
T2, Theater 2