The Serpentine launches second Digital Commission from New York- based artist Ian Cheng

Bad Corgi. Courtesy of the Artist
Bad Corgi. Courtesy of the Artist

Enter the world of Bad Corgi: A shadowy mindfulness app for contemplating chaos.

The Serpentine is poised to launch 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 in late March 2016 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 a new app by New York-based artist Ian Cheng whose influences draw on an education in Cognitive Science, a stint at George Lucas’s 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.

“I see my simulations as a kind of neurological gym,” says Cheng, “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 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.

Cheng continues: “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.”

Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Galleries, said:

Bad Corgi is a game like no other: a coming together of digital culture and art that can be read as a metaphor for our attempts as a species to exercise control and create order in a world that defies it at every turn.

Bad Corgi is the second Serpentine Digital Commission, 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.


Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens
London W2 3XA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *