Online 24 Sep 2015 – ongoing Free

Download the Bad Corgi app

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In the Serpentine Galleries’ second Digital Commission artist, Ian Cheng invites you to enter the world of Bad Corgi: a shadowy mindfulness app for contemplating chaos.

The Serpentine launched its second Digital Commission, a mindfulness app for iOS in which you assume precarious control of Bad Corgi, a dwarfish demon pup tasked with benignly herding sheep and avoiding distraction in a world of chaos.

Available to download from the Serpentine’s website and iTunes store, Bad Corgi is set in 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.

Bad Corgi is an app by New York-based artist Ian Cheng, whose influences draw on an education in Cognitive Science, a stint at George Lucas’ special effects company Industrial Light & Magic and a 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.

Cheng says:

“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.

Serpentine Digital Commission

The Serpentine Digital Commission is a programme that develops new digital works through a variety of emerging mediums, hosted on the Serpentine’s website, transforming the site into a new forward thinking space for exhibiting art. Each commission aims to expand how we understand the effect of digital technologies on artistic and cultural practice today.

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