BOB is the creation of American artist Ian Cheng and forms part 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, BOB will not be exhibited for your viewing pleasure – you will be exhibited to them.
The Gallery becomes home to 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 BOB, these plot lines and protagonists utilise complex logic systems, principles of emergence, and multiple models of artificial intelligence sutured together.