‘I don’t want to exhibit something to someone, but rather the reverse: to exhibit someone to something.’ Pierre Huyghe
Although Huyghe intentionally alters the sites in which he works, events and growth are often encouraged to occur without his control. The exhibition is therefore changed irrevocably and unpredictably over the course of the time in which it exists.
For his exhibition at the Serpentine, Huyghe began by selecting a set of images and descriptions and gave them to an individual. As this person recreated these images in their mind, their brain activity was captured by an fMRI scanner, and the data produced was given to a deep neural network, which attempted to reconstruct them, collaging together elements from its own bank of images.
The thousands of attempts of the deep neural network to construct visual representations of a human thought are presented here on large LED screens distributed throughout the gallery. The rhythms and pauses within the succession of images are endlessly modified by conditions in the gallery; sensors detecting light, temperature and humidity levels, the presence of insects, and the gaze of visitors produce a feedback loop.
The conditions of the space are constantly changing and inflecting each other. A community of flies living in the central gallery creates unrepeatable patterns on the domed ceiling as they emerge, grow and learn to fly; areas of the gallery walls have been sanded down, and the dust from the paint of previous exhibitions is tracked across the floor as visitors enter and depart.
Together, these elements make up an ecosystem that loops together human, animal and technological players. Each of these players may be indifferent to the others, but cannot help but affect what becomes visible on the screens as they enter, and after they leave.
‘When what is made is not necessarily due to the artist as the only operator, the only one generating intentions and that instead it’s an ensemble of intelligences, of entities biotic or abiotic, beyond human reach, and that the present situation has no duration, is not addressed to anyone, is indifferent, at that moment perhaps the ritual of the exhibition can self-present.’ Pierre Huyghe in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, 2018
‘[Huyghe] is not interested in creating fictions, but new realities; the realities he has created have proved unsettlingly visionary.’ ArtReview
The exhibition contains live flies. Steps have been taken by the Serpentine Galleries, with advice and assistance from specialists, to ensure the utmost care of the flies included in this installation. Please see this leaflet for more information.
The exhibition is accompanied by a digital Mobile Tour supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.