Bad Corgi by Ian Cheng is the second digital commission of the Serpentine conceived in 2015 as app for iOS, available to download from the Serpentine’s website and iTunes store. The project is an interactive simulation where players experiment with opportunities to pollute the herd, lose points and experience loss of control over their canine protagonist. Bad Corgi reflects on the human mind’s mercurial states of focus, distraction, discipline and uncanny ability to become possessed by an inner impulsive autopilot.
It is part of Ian Cheng’s fascination with the dynamics of unpredictable systems. Using algorithmic modelling techniques commonly employed in the gaming industry, Cheng creates simulations in which virtual objects and characters are programmed with basic behaviours and then unleashed upon each other.
“I see my simulations as a kind of neurological gym in which art becomes a means to deliberately exercise the feelings of confusion, anxiety and cognitive dissonance that can accompany life in a world of intense change and uncertainty. In this way Bad Corgi functions as a shadowy mindfulness tool about refusing to eradicate stress and anxiety, and instead learning to deliberately setup and collaborate with those bad-feeling feelings.”
In the little world of Bad Corgi, the player is subjected to various stress conditions in which control of Bad Corgi is quite literally seized by other forces, leaving the player to accept misbehaviours on the part of Corgi and the app itself.
(from the Serpentine website)
Ian Cheng, Bad Corgi, 2016, digital Commission at the Serpentine (London)
You can download it from the Serpentine’s website, or from iTunes store