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Visiting Artists Program (VAP) Resource Guides


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The Visiting Artists Program resource guides contain upcoming speakers' biographies, articles, video and audio content, related publications in the Flaxman Library, and additional online resources. These guides may be used in the classroom in preparation for the event, research, or post-lecture discussion.

Ian Cheng: Tuesday, April 6, 6:30–7:45 p.m. CT
Click here to join via Zoom, Passcode: SAICVAP
This event will be live captioned by CART.

Join us live for a virtual lecture by artist Ian Cheng followed by an audience Q&A.


Photographic Portrait of Ian ChengDrawing on principles of video game design, improvisation, and cognitive science, Ian Cheng's practice explores the nature of mutation and the capacity of humans to relate to change. He produces computer-generated simulations whose complex ecosystems are programmed to evolve without end. These projects culminated in the Emissaries trilogy (2014–17), a set of works in which the motivation of a narrative agent—the emissary—is set into conflict with the open-ended chaos of the simulation. In 2019, he debuted BOB (Bag of Beliefs), an AI creature whose personality, body, and life story evolve across exhibitions, what Cheng calls “art with a nervous system.”
Recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include Life After Bob, The Shed, New York (2021); Ian Cheng: BOB, Gladstone Gallery, New York (2019); Ian Cheng Emissaries, Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin (2018); Ian Cheng: BOB, Serpentine Gallery, London (2018); Ian Cheng: Emissaries, MoMA PS1, New York (2017); Ian Cheng: Forking at Perfection, Migros Museum, Zurich (2016); and Ian Cheng: Emissary in the Squat of Gods, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Italy (2015). Recent group exhibitions include Mud Muses, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2019); If the Snake, Okayama Art Summit, Japan (2019); May You Live in Interesting Times, Venice Biennale (2019); New Order: Art and Technology in the Twenty-First Century, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2019); Leaving the Echo Chamber, Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2019); Low Form. Imaginaries and Visions in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, MAXXI, Rome (2018); and I Was Raised on the Internet, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2018).
Presented in partnership with SAIC’s Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation’s Conversations at the Edge series.

Portrait credit: Ian Cheng. Image courtesy of the artist and Espace Louis Vuitton Munich. Photo: Christian Kain 

Ian Cheng Website

Gallery Representation


These works of art mess with our perceptions of AI and humanity
Sean Captain | Fast Company | February 21, 2020

How Does AI Change the Way we Perceive Art?
Matthew Shen Goodman | Art in America | January 21, 2020

BOB Meets World: Ian Cheng Arrives at the Venice Biennale with His AI Simulations
Rahel Aima | Cultured | May 7, 2019

Ian Cheng’s Emissaries
Stuart Comer and Ian Cheng | MoMA Magazine | March 6, 2019

Ian Cheng with Osman Can Yerebakan
Osman Can Yerebakan and Ian Cheng | The Brooklyn Rail | February 2019 

‘There’s Something Maniacal About Basic Desires’: Ian Cheng on His Gladstone Gallery Show, Artificial Intelligence, and His Fear of Snakes
Annie Armstrong | ARTnews | February 4, 2019

Ian Cheng's art is inspired by The Sims and created with AI
Stephen Armstrong | Wired | May 6, 2018

'Shakespeare in the Really Disturbing, Chaotic Park'
Haley Mellin and Ian Cheng | GARAGE Magazine | June 6, 2017

One Take: Ian Cheng’s Emissaries
Jace Clayton | Frieze Magazine | April 22, 2017

Emissaries: A Trilogy of Simulations*
Ian Cheng | Architectural Design, Vol. 89 (1) | p. 118-125 | January 2019
*This is a library resource that requires ARTIC login


Ian Cheng’s Vimeo

Visiting Artists Program Lecture Recordings from the Archive
SAIC Visiting Artists Program video and audio lecture recordings (1977–present.) Available with SAIC login credentials.

SAIC Digital Collections: Visiting Artists Program
SAIC Visiting Artists Program publicity archive and audio recordings (1977-98).