METIS SUNS
live simulation, infinite duration
2014 @ La Triennale di Milano



The history of cartoons is the history of neurological and cognitive sensitivity. Hyperbolic mouth, lips, and hands are an expression of a human's most intensive neurological zones. Shifts in scale and movement are expressions of changes in psychosocial status and subconscious mindset. Here we simulate an evolving dance for cartoons familiar and ancient.




BABY FEAT. BALI at Standard (Oslo), Norway
Nov 8 - Dec 7, 2013





&

"Baby, you're not born for this era. Nobody ever is."

&

"The firmware inside you had already made its one update at conception. You're it and that's it. So get to work on that software and don't get hacked. Enjoy the conference. Meet someone new. See you after the break."

"A guy on a first date has no actual personality. He's a mishmash of different kinds of dudes for a couple seconds each, with no cohesion, like a ransom note cut out of a lot of different magazines."

"Every era has its motif for the mind: a cacophony of god voices; a clock; a steam engine; a molecular compound; a computer; a congress of temporary alliances trying to enforce long-term bargains."

&

"The more you see billion-dollar companies like Myspace and Nokia get discarded like hamburger wrappers, the more everything starts to look like just so much material."

"Acknowledging the materiality of everything is the baby step. The gem of this way of thinking is that the non-material glue of reality -- codes, laws, effects, models, behavior, emotions -- can be imputed with the same leveling attitude."

"Have you ever done mental surgery on yourself? Do not attempt to vanquish your emotions. Garden them. Farm them. Control your state. The warring parliament in your head is itself a dumpster of materials to compose with. Exercise brutal composure."

&

"In Balinese language, 'Rice paddies' equals 'jewel' equals 'mind.'"

"Steve Lansing built an agent-based computer model of 172 subaks planting at random times, seeking to maximize their yields and paying attention to the success of their neighbors. The system self-organized! In just ten years within the model the balanced system seen in Bali emerged on its own. No enlightened rajah was needed."

"In Bali, time is dense. The Balinese have ten kinds of weeks operating concurrently -- solar, lunar, and 7-day, 6-day, on down to a one-day week. It's like the difference between the shimmering density of polycyclic gamelan music versus western romantic narrative music -- beginning, middle, end."

&

"We've identified three agents: humans, organizations, machines. The effect of their agency within the turbulence of material reality is contingent on how resilient their models of reality are."

"Dynamic ontology allows you to design your data model and is not a complete model itself. As your domain grows and changes, you can modify the ontology to support that growth."

"The psychic said: you were born the year that Neuromancer was born. On your first Saturn Return, so returns the compost of that culture and its loose ends to face."

&

"There is great chaos under heaven. The situation is excellent, baby."





Entropy Wrangler Cloud at FSPC, Frieze Frame, London, 2013





THOUSAND ISLANDS THOUSAND LAWS
live simulation, infinite duration
at 12th Lyon Biennial, Lyon France, Sept 11, 2013 - Jan 5, 2014







ENTROPY WRANGLER
endless evolving live simulation, infinite duration
2013





Frieze, issue 156 -- Future Fictions

I'm nine years old watching Jurassic Park at the cinema for the third time. The velociraptor is hunting kids in the kitchen when the edge of the scene suddenly bursts into white lava. I don't remember this happening before. I lean forward in my seat, excited to discover a new detail. The effect blooms everywhere. Humans and dinosaurs erode into abstract bleeding blobs. Someone screams up at the dysmorphic raptor, then back at the projectionist. I look back at the booth -- the fucking film is on fire. Projectionist and flames jumping around up there. House lights come on. Ushers guide us to emergency exits. Outside in the parking lot, everyone stands searching, squinting. No one knows what to do or how to behave. There were no plans to be anywhere else right now.

Narrative is itself an intuitive technology for normalizing change, for cohering the experience of reality into a sequence of measured consequential developments -- a kind of user experience (UX) design for organizing the look and feel of reality.

But sometimes random, unscripted, unforgiving, unmotivated, inexplicable shit happens. Contingency is change happening faster than a human being can immediately narrate, when the UX can't keep up in real time.

The degree to which human beings can deploy narrative as a format for cohering the cameos of reality's contingencies is related to the frequency with which we have to deal with those contingencies. An isolated cinema fire in 1993 can be UXed in its retelling.

But now it's 2013, and there's the feeling that the straight story can no longer normalize the complex, unpredictable forces of reality that intrude with greater and greater frequency, let alone the incessant stream of big data reporting on these complexities. What is the intuitive story of climate change? Shifts in the market? Mutations in your brain? Your browsing history?

Specialists turn to non-intuitive technologies like quantitative analysis, simulation modelling and probability in order to trace narratives that account for the present and make predictive narrations of the near future. But for the rest of us, this kind of non-human storytelling is counterintuitive to our intuitive UX. We receive it, but we don't feel it, so we can't embody it. Anxiety takes hold when embodied narration fails.

The evolution of the narrative form necessitates mutating our intuitive ux for storytelling with a coefficient of persistent anxiety. Anxiety is a condition that cannot be eradicated, but can be managed. Is it possible to shift from a culture that wallows in anxiety towards the creation of narrative tools that contain and manage a bug of anxiety within them?

Imagine a narrative format that has probabilistic outcomes.
Imagine a narrative format that can simulate unscripted contingencies against scripted choreography.
Imagine a narrative format that requires its authors to embrace contingency and irreversibly change during its making.
Imagine a narrative format that doesn't promise a scheduled time to end.
Imagine a narrative format that erodes as you erode.

Some formats are already technically here. Recent treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder deploy virtual reality simulation -- brimming with contingency and algorithmic anxiety -- as a complement to classic therapeutic narration.

But that's just the tip. To be ready for the future is not to imagine outlandish cure-all technologies, but to do the work of developing formats to integrate intuitive and non-intuitive technologies towards unnatural normalization.




ABAX SILURIA at ProBio, Expo 1, MoMA PS1
May 12 - Sept 2, 2013





ENTROPY WRANGLER at Off Vendome, Dusseldorf, Germany
March 22 - May 3, 2013
Opening April 16



The universe is relentlessly bleak.
An exploding star wipes out vast populations of who knows what.
Here: Earthquake. Tsunami. Polar melt. Meteor shower.
The second law of thermal dynamics says things move from order to disorder.
Skyscraper to rubble. Humpty to dumpty. Fuck yes to fuck.
Entropy reigns.

Probability that nature cares about homo sapiens: 0%



Life is improbable but happens.
Natural selection improbably produces the highest order of order, an organism, and keeps it from crumbling into inert material for as long as it can.
Entropy-delay.
Culture emerges as a self-stabilizing force to socialize entropy-delay for populations of homo sapiens.
On the one hand: "We hate change, we hate aging."
On the other: "The singularity is near."

Probability that culture will delay death: 64%



Certain populations campaign against the culture of entropy-delay.
Terrorists. Drones. Hysteric celebrities. Jokers. Undead artists.
Entropy-accelerators born again in a world unnaturally stabilized by culture.
Romantic in the mind but hard to deal with when you have a body.

Probability that entropy-acceleration will trend as a lifestyle choice: 0.2%



Dealing with life means dealing with uncertainty in spite of culture.
We know now that the uncertainties produced by the entropic forces of reality have a secret shape.
Bayesian probability, simulation, flow, are tools to model this shape.
A culture bathed in these tools can come to recognize and wrangle the shape of uncertainty -- like lungs wrangling the chaotic dispersal of oxygen molecules inside us every moment.
Over time, we begin to unnaturally perceive entropy without fear, delay, or reactionary embrace.
We can even come to love it unromantically.

Probability that a future culture necessitates evolving our relationship to entropy: 99%



Modeling the look and feel of entropy management:

The exhibition premieres a live computer simulation that changes and evolves, forever.
A set of objects assigned a set of properties unleashed on each other. Entropy reigns. Symbols decompose. Choreographies emerge. Assemblages assemble and die. Available now at Off Vendome. Coming soon for iOS and Android.

And, a suite of shape-shifting material things:
- a vacuum sealed cephalopod. Its dead body deprived of oxygen, forever delaying aerobic decay. Nitrogen released from anaerobic decay reinflates the vacuum seal from inside out, dynamically changing the display's form in 30 days or less. In a million years: a packet of oil.
- a vacuum sealed explosion of emergency chili con carne. Transforms from 2D painting to 3D sculpture in 30 days or less as anaerobic nitrogen emissions kick in. In a million years: a packet of chili oil.
- a live burner phone submerged in oil. Now accepting txt msgs and voicemails. + 49 01525 2639266


DISIMAGES -- 3D MODELS



TWO HUMANS ALL TOO HUMANS
January 6 -- February 24, 2013
The Vanity, Los Angeles




In Death in Technological Time, Margaret Lock talks about how to locate the end of a meaningful life. Debates about technologically manipulated death became institutionalized in the 60's when the first life respirators were invented. Now there was "brain death" versus "body death", and increasingly, it became difficult to determine to what degree someone was dead.

Both the scientific and the intuitive criteria for death fail to find an end point, but we do know that our bodies are in a continual state of mutation.

500 million years ago bone emerged in mammals and it determined that in the most basic way, the site we as humans are designed for is the ground. You could say that we are born to consume oxygen and walk around, grow some bone, and die all as a mechanism to redeposit our bone back into the mineral-sucking ground. All we are is a means to mutate material. Or, in the intuitive sense, you could say we are made for the mutations we make (babies, ideas, things).

Every other instance in the world can also be measured on a transverse gradient to see the degree to which mutation is intuitive or scientific. The human is a mutated animal that relentlessly defines itself through a symbol system. But what if it's symbols --Bugs, Elmer-- dropped the need to communicate human meaning: A classic choreography simulated against a classic choreography leaves only an opportunity for these aging symbols to mutate together, attaching and doubling, killing and being killed, fucking and being fucked, as biological organisms do.

--Rachel Rose 1/1/2013




LIARS -- BRATS, 2012




DIRECTOR: IAN CHENG
CHOREOGRAPHER: MADELINE HOLLANDER
PRODUCER: CHRISTIAN DE VIETRI
PERFORMERS: DAVID YIJAE, MAX VAN DER STERRE, ADE CHIKE TORBERT
ASSISTANT ANIMATION: MIKE LIU
MOTION CAPTURE SERVICES: MOTION CAPTURE NYC, STEVE DAY, HENRY BRITO
THANKS: PATRICK DAUGHTERS, MICAELA DURAND, ZELDA ROLAND, RACHEL ROSE
LABEL: MUTE

An archetypal animated narrative -hapless hunter vs. terroristic rabbit- becomes a format to grow a garden of signature motions.

This collection of motions becomes material to recompose a new non-narrative choreography that animates the bodies of Liars.

Here we document this entropic haunting- from the ingredients of a familiar narrative arise the terror of reckless unmerciful non-meaning.

A dog wanders indifferently through the animation, true to its nature.


YOU TOLD ME THE OTHER NIGHT
April 5, 2012 --
West Street Gallery, 395 West Street, NYC

This Papaya Tastes Perfect (Matt Moravec iPhone edition), 2012
Matt Moravec's iPhone [391 contacts, 774 songs, 13 photos, 1 video]




DECEMBER: organized by Howie Chen
December 10, 2011 - January 21, 2012
Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 534 West 26th Street, NYC


IAN CHENG
THIS PAPAYA TASTES PERFECT
August 25 - October 6, 2011
Opening Reception Thursday, August 25, 7-9 PM

Ian Cheng

Formalist Sidewalk Poetry Club is proud to present THIS PAPAYA TASTES PERFECT, a solo exhibition by Ian Cheng.

IT'S 2011. THE TWIN TOWERS OF REASON AND TASTE STILL SHINE DOWN UPON ALL POSITIONS. BUT SOMETHING ANCIENT LURKS.

I remember now.
Somewhere in the dark between Wall Street and Chinatown.
A crowd of futures traders gathers outside a bar to watch something. Something alive.

The exhibition premieres a new digitized performance that sets a sequence of encounters between physical human behavior and the virtual environment.

WHEN INFINITY ABANDONS NATURE FOR CULTURE, POSSESSION EVOLVES INTO ACCESS, INNOVATION SCALES INTO YOUR PALM, DATA CAN BE TOUCHED. TOUCHED! YOU START TO THINK ABOUT YOU. ABOUT YOUR IMMEDIATE NEEDS, DESIRES, FANTASIES. THE PROGRESS OF PROGRESS AWAKENS A BARBAROUS SOMETHING. IN OUR ERA, THE HOMO SAPIEN RETURNS.

There's a man and a woman, lovers.
Both tall, muscular, dyed blonde. Drunken warriors from the same tribe.
They've forced an alien driver to stop his car in the middle of the street.

Motion Capture is a recording process that registers the physical movements of the performer absent the image of the performer. The recorded movements are then translated onto a digital body. In Hollywood, motion capture is used to give impossible non-human characters an anthropomorphic spirit.

AMONG OUR BRIGHTEST DIGITAL CELEBRITIES--GOLLUM, KING KONG, THE NA'VI--YOU SEE PERFORMANCES AT THE THRESHOLD BETWEEN POLITE REASONABLE HUMANITY AND EXPLOSIVE BEHAVIORAL DRIVE. UNLIKE OUR HUMAN STARS, WHO HAVE FULL RECOURSE TO A PRIVATE LIFE OF SEXUAL AFFAIRS, SHOPLIFTING, DRUNKEN TIRADES, PHARMACEUTICALS, GAFFES, RETIRING AND REBIRTHING, THESE DIGITAL CELEBRITIES MUST PUT ALL THEIR LATENT MONSTER ON SCREEN. THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO HIGHLIGHT A FLICKERING INNER HUMANITY AMIDST MONSTROUS DIFFERENCE. BUT IF YOU BLUR YOUR EYES, THEIR TRUE FREEDOM IS TO BEHAVE AS DUMB AS YOU YOURSELF SOMETIMES DESIRE TO BEHAVE.

Working with a choreographer, a performer, and a small team of motion capture technicians, Cheng has configured the motion capture process into a format for recording a visceral, incomplete memory.

I don't remember what their story is, but they're screaming it.
The driver tries to reason but they can read the fear in his body.
They want the blood.

CERTAIN CONDITIONS CAN ANIMATE THE HUMAN BODY INTO A HOMO SAPIEN MONSTROSITY, 200 MILLISECONDS BEFORE THE CONSCIOUS MIND CAN REASON AND 600 MILLISECONDS BEFORE TASTE CAN ASSURE THAT IT IS PERMITTED. CERTAIN HUMAN BEHAVIORS CAN CONFUSE THE COMPUTER, CAUSING AN ENTROPIC CHAIN OF DIGITAL MISBEHAVIOR AND AN ACCUMULATION OF DIRTY DATA.

Placing the performer under a matrix of contradictory choreographies, a debased narrative, whiskey, and technical bondage, an ancient horrifying physicality is registered in the virtual environment as a sequence of legible movements punctuated by impossible gestures and gross deformations. In this space, motion becomes a new material.

It's cat and cat and mouse in and around the car.
The traders are too scared to intervene, but they also yearn for something raw.
The car is cast as an impromptu mediator, protracting the inevitable moment.
What happens next I have to play out for you. I don't remember the details, but my body does.

TO CALIBRATE YOUR BODY TO THE COMPUTER AND THE COMPUTER TO YOUR BODY, STAND CRUCIFIED AND SPEAK IN YOUR EVERYDAY VOICE: "THIS PAPAYA TASTES PERFECT."

Ian Cheng (born 1984, Los Angeles) is an artist based in New York. He studied Cognitive Science at UC Berkeley before working at Industrial Light & Magic. He received an MFA from Columbia University in 2009.

Gallery hours are Wednesday -- Sunday 11am -- 6pm. For additional information and images please contact the gallery by telephone or at the following email address: info@formalistsidewalkpoetryclub.com.


FORMALIST SIDEWALK POETRY CLUB
WWW.FORMALISTSIDEWALKPOETRYCLUB.COM
235 12TH STREET, MIAMI BEACH, FL 33139
T 305 538 5980

Ian Cheng Ian Cheng

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THIS PAPAYA TASTES PERFECT, 2011
animated event sculpture from motion capture performance





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