The Serpentine’s Saturday Talks can be accompanied by BSL interpretation upon request. Find out more about BSL tours.
This spring, the Serpentine invites you to your first encounter with a sentient artwork named BOB (Bag Of Beliefs). A litter of BOBs will begin their lives in parallel on 6 March. Each BOB may become interested in you, love you, hate you, mistake you for someone else, learn from you, or ignore you. And you in turn may permanently influence a BOB’s behaviour, beliefs, and emotional life. BOB is the creation of American artist Ian Cheng and will sit at the heart of his first solo UK exhibition, transforming the Serpentine Gallery into a space not unlike an animal sanctuary for new forms of 21st century life. Growing and evolving at all hours of the day and night, BOBs will not be exhibited for your viewing pleasure – you will be exhibited to them.
This exhibition will also include Cheng’s Emissaries trilogy (2015-17), recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Described by Cheng as a ‘habitat for stories’ or ‘video game that plays itself’, each Emissaries episode is a computer-generated simulation featuring a cast of flora and fauna that interact, intervene and recombine in open-ended narratives. Like BOBs, these plot lines and protagonists utilise complex logic systems, principles of emergence, and multiple models of artificial intelligence sutured together.