A 'Bad Corgi' Misbehaves in Video Art Game about Anxiety

Serpentine gallery launches a cheeky art game designed to train your brain.

Ian Cheng, Bad Corgi, 2016, courtesy of the artist (via)

Artist Ian Cheng will be launching a new app-based artwork for London's Serpentine Galleries. Called Bad Corgi the "mindfulness app" will let you control a "dwarfish demon pup" who has to herd sheep around in a chaotic world, with the user being forced to ruminate and deal with the effects of disorder and decline.

To that effect the game will let players lose points, lose the ability to control the demon pup, and contaminate the herd of sheep, urging them to act on impulse while challenging their attention and desire for distraction. 

Cheng's work often has a glitchy, incomplete aesthetic created using motion capture, which appears to be present in this new work, a technique he learned after spending a year working with FX company Industrial Light & Magic. Ideas of entropy and the unpredictability of programmed systems and characters regularly inform the gameplay of Cheng's algorithmic simulations.

“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 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.”

Misbehavior will be part of the experience of the app, probably along with a sense of frustration, but that seems to be the idea. The real test and accomplishment will be you cope with that without destroying your phone.

"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,” note Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-directors of Serpentine Galleries.

Bad Corgi, courtesy of the artist 

Bad Corgi will be available to download in late March 2016 from the Serpentine’s website and iTunes. To learn more about the gallery, click here


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