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Pierre Huyghe 'UUmwelt' - Serpentine Gallery

Updated: Feb 13, 2020


Pierre Huyghe is a well- known artist that focuses most of his practice to environments, community, complex systems and of living and non- living. When creating his pieces, he considers and observes audiences for their behaviours and reactions to the piece.Pierre’s work evolves without his control, mostly by looking at his work as a piece that will end up being unintentional at the end. The exhibition, therefore changes unpredictably over the course of the time in which it exists.


The word Uumwelt comes from community, a space with surroundings, rituals that exist in a space and your own personal experience that has an impact to the exhibition itself.





In the Serpentine gallery, the process of the exhibition came place by Huyghe selecting set of images and descriptions to give to an individual.

1. The individual then recreates these images in their mind whilst their brain activity was being captured by a fMRI scanner, where these re-creation data has been given to a deep natural network to reconstruct the data to a new imagery by collaging technique.



2. These data then get collected by different individuals and a PowerPoint show has been created with fast moving visual imagery on LED screens in the exhibition.







3.The visitors all perform a ritual of gazing in the exhibition, taking a good look at the LED screens and observes as without knowing become interdependences. The exhibition isn’t in artist’s control nor does the presence of the visitor sustains themselves. Audiences let their brain decide on a mental image, and as the slides quickly change, re-creates a different image rapidly.




“The experience, as humans coexisting within the exhibition alongside insects and artificial intelligence, of trying repeatedly to make sense of the images presented here, is a reminder that the way we interpret the world is specific only to us.”






There are a community of flies in the exhibition living in the gallery, the dome and on the LED screens spread everywhere. They complete the exhibition by emerging, glowing, growing and learning to fly to different sensors. Together all the elements create an ecosystem of human, animal and uncanny imagery inside the Serpentine gallery.






As the people enter and exit of the gallery, the movements of both actions, inflects what becomes visible on LED screens. The flies without knowing, involuntarily create a pattern onto the sanded ceiling and walls from the white paint made on 2018. Flies create an experience of living planetarium to the audience and the exhibition.



There are important details in the gallery such as rhythms and pauses within the LED screens, sensors detecting light, temperature, humidity, the presence of the bluebottle flies, and a different story that each visitor creates in their own mind as gazing the exhibition.




“You set conditions, but you cannot define the outcome, how given entity will interact with another… there is a set of elements, the way they collide, confront and respond to each other is unpredictable…I don’t want to exhibit something to someone, but rather the reverse; to exhibit someone to something. “


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