Ian Cheng: Emissary Trilogy, MOMA PS1


Artist: Ian Cheng
Role: Technical Artist
Deployment Time: Apr. 2017

Ian Cheng is the pioneer of a new genre of new media art 'Simulation'. A simulation is essentially a piece of computer software with a huge amount of visual and narrative elements. A simulation is comprised of many agents, each agent has its own behavior patterns and intelligence. The agents interact with each other and with the environment. The indivual agents shape the world as a whole by following their own rules. As a complex system, the simulation is a self-evolving enclosed story that no one can predict what exactly is going to happen next because of its algorithmic nature.

There are two big aspects in the process of the development of Emissaries. First is the intelligence of the agents, second is the environmental design and implementation. As a technical artist, my work is programming things related to the visual layer, mostly environmental elements like fog, footprints, flocking, and GUIs.

Tech Spec 技术

Development Platform: Unity
Language: C#, ShaderLab, HLSL

From MOMA PS1 纽约现代美术馆PS1对于作品的介绍

MoMA PS1 presents Ian Cheng’s (b. 1984) first US museum solo presentation, featuring the artist’s complete Emissary trilogy (2015–17), a series of live simulation works created using a video game engine. Described by the artist as “a video game that plays itself,” the works are comprised of computer-generated simulations like those used in predictive technologies for complex scenarios such as climate change or elections. Populated by a cast of characters and wildlife that interact, intervene, and recombine in open-ended narratives, Cheng’s simulations evolve endlessly as self-contained ecosystems. The exhibition Emissaries marks the completion of this series of works, which contemplate timeless questions about evolution, the origins of human consciousness, and ways of relating to a chaotic existence. The trilogy was recently acquired by The Museum of Modern Art and is on display for the first time at MoMA PS1.