Programming Art: Art Practice Alum Ian Cheng’s ‘Emissary’ at the Museum of Modern Art

How to describe artist Ian Cheng’s current exhibit at MoMA PS 1, a Brooklyn-based branch of the world-famous Museum of Modern Art in New York City? Imagine a projection on the wall, as wide as a tractor trailer, depicting chaos … with a story.

The title of this real-time simulation is Emissary Sunsets the Self, the third of three pieces being exhibited on the third floor of this former school. Each piece depicts an epoch in the life of a civilization: an ancient community faced with destruction; an artificial intelligence examining the fall of human life; an atoll that somehow develops sentience. Each larger-than-life piece develops in real time from a computer program Cheng has written.

In Cheng’s simulated universe, every character has its prescribed behaviors—trees sway, rocks roll, dogs walk around, a human keeps a fire stoked. As the characters interact with each other, the program moves in directions that not even Cheng can predict. (more, via  California Magazine)