The New Social Environment#639

Ian Cheng: Life After BOB

Featuring Cheng and Charlotte Kent


12 p.m. Eastern / 9 a.m. Pacific

Artist Ian Cheng joins Rail Editor-at-Large Charlotte Kent for the next conversation in our Art + Technology series. We conclude with a poetry reading by Dot Devota.

In this talk

Ian Cheng

A photograph of Ian Cheng
Born in Los Angeles and living and working in NYC, artist Ian Cheng’s work explores the nature of mutation and the capacity of humans to relate to change. Drawing on principles of video game design, improvisation, and cognitive science, Cheng has produced a series of simulations exploring an agent’s capacity to deal with an ever-evolving environment. These works culminated in the Emissaries trilogy, which introduced a narrative agent whose motivation to enact a story was set into conflict with the open-ended chaos of the simulation. Most recently, he has developed BOB (Bag of Beliefs), an AI creature whose personality, body, and life story evolve across exhibitions, what Cheng calls “art with a nervous system.”

Charlotte Kent

Charlotte Kent
Associate professor of visual culture at Montclair State University Charlotte Kent, PhD, has a particular interest in historical frameworks for art practices, with a research focus on contemporary digital culture and the absurd. She writes for assorted magazines and various academic journals. She is an Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Dot Devota reading.

Dot Devota

A portrait of poet Dot Devota by Kelly Shimoda.
Photo by Kelly Shimoda
Dot Devota writes poems and essays about pre-sickness, sensations in the phenomenon of “falling ill,” and post-viral, chronic and mysterious illness in individual, societal, and environmental body-scapes. Her books include PMS: A Journal In Verse and The Division of Labor (Rescue Press), And The Girls Worried Terribly (Noemi Press), The Eternal Wall (Cannibal Books, re-issued by Book*hug), and Dept. of Posthumous Letters (Argos Books). Excerpts from her nonfiction novel, MW: A Field Guide to the Midwest, are published in PEN America, and Denver Quarterly, among other places. >SHE is her recent prose manuscript that the author dubs autoimmunefiction. Devota’s Wall Poems are large-scale calligraphic installations which have exhibited nationally at museums and galleries.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.