Life after BOB: The Chalice Study with Ian Cheng

Combi ticket (+Art in the…) = €25
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Life After BOB is an episodic anime series built in the Unity game engine and presented live in real-time. It imagines a future world in which the internet extends into our nervous system, psychotropic foods unify physical and psychic realities into a fluid experience stream, AI entities are permitted to co-inhabit human minds, and anomie, or the breakdown of ethical standards and values, reigns.

In episode one ~ The Chalice Study ~ neural engineer Dr. Wong has installed an experimental AI named BOB (“Bag of Beliefs”) into the nervous system of his 10-year-old daughter Chalice. Designed to guide Chalice through the challenges of growing up in a volatile world, BOB confronts more and more of the conflicts in Chalice’s life on her behalf, while Chalice grows increasingly escapist. As Dr. Wong begins to favor the BOB side of his daughter, and as BOB threatens to do the job of living Chalice’s life better than she can, Chalice jealously wonders: what is left for her classic human self to do?

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About Iang Cheng

Ian Cheng is an artist living and working in New York. His work has been widely exhibited, including as part of solo presentations at MoMA PS1, New York; Serpentine Galleries, London; Leeum Museum of Art, Seoul; The Shed, New York; LUMA Foundation, Arles; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin and Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin. Since 2012, Cheng has produced a series of simulations exploring an agent’s capacity to deal with an ever-changing 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. In 2015, he founded Metis Suns, a production company dedicated to Worlding and worlding literacy.

The multi-year research project Art in the Age of the Metaverse is a collaboration between the Hartwig Art Foundation and the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, conducted by Memory Gems. The international conference is organised together with De Balie.

Trailer Life After BOB: The Chalice Study


Iang cheng De Balie
Ian ChengArtist known for his live simulations that explore the ability of living agents to cope with change. (Photo: Rachel Rose)