Emissary Forks Featuring Thousands Islands
Award for the Filmic Oeuvre 2017
Espace Louis Vuitton Munich
The American artist Ian Cheng is the recipient of the Award for the Filmic Oeuvre, bestowed by the Espace Louis Vuitton within the framework of the film festival KINO DER KUNST. His monographic exhibition is part of the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s ongoing “Hors-les-murs” program, which introduces previously unseen artworks from its collection to a broad audience.
Cheng’s progressive practice of new media art focuses on the nature of mutation and the capacity of humans to relate and react to change. Drawing on the principles of video game design, cognitive science, and improvisation in the performing arts he develops “live simulations”, which act as living virtual ecosystems, housed in digital space and accessible via apps.
A “live simulation” begins with a set of digital features authored by the artist, but unlike video, it has no end and therefore evolves and devolves in perpetuity. The artist assigns archetypal features to each element in the work. Based on a set of algorithms these elements take on lives of their own, evolving over time just like the human body and mind, with no predetermined outcome.
Cheng describes his simulations as a “neurological gym”: a venue for viewers to consciously exercise the feelings of confusion, anxiety, and cognitive dissonance that accompany our epoch’s perpetual state of change.