What empathetic connections can be found in virtual reality, as a new realm to exercise the imagination? This was the primary question I found posed when viewing Ian Cheng’s entrancing solo exhibition Emissaries at MoMA Ps1.
For this exhibition, Cheng designed three live simulations, or self-playing video games, that take place on a fictitious volcanic island. There are three “chapters,” each a different era in the island’s history, that each occupy a different screen in the galleries. The nature of live simulation means that the characters who populate the island control themselves in real time, as opposed to a prerecording that would play on loop. Chapter 1, “Emissary in the Squat of Gods,” represents humanity’s prehistoric past and features cartoonish figures tinkering around in a barren white landscape inspired by volcanos in Southeast Asia, where ash provides fertile soil for new life to spawn. When I viewed the work, a few characters were huddled so tightly around a fire that some were actually standing inside of it. In this new world, the fire didn’t seem to burn. In Chapter 2 “Emissary Forks at Perfection,” Shiba Inu dogs dominate the island, which is now lush with tropical greenery, occasionally uprooting a shrub or doing what can only be described as derping.
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.