Anatomy of an art­work Pierre Huyghe’s UUmwelt

The Guardian - The Guide - - Art - Skye Sher­win

Weird sci­ence …

A world where flies, hu­mans and ma­chines are the chief pro­tag­o­nists sounds like a clas­sic dystopian night­mare. Yet Pierre Huyghe’s UUmwelt man­ages to be not just chill­ing but se­duc­tive and, oc­ca­sion­ally, ab­surd.

The mind’s eye …

In stripped-down rooms, a few screens project a mi­asma of dig­i­tal im­agery, where against a vague streak of a land­scape, mu­tat­ing hunks veer from fleshy to or­nate. It’s pro­duced by com­put­ers flip­ping through their im­age banks to find a match with brain waves gen­er­ated by a man asked to both look at and imag­ine undis­closed forms.

Fly with me …

Mean­while, blue­bot­tles breed in their thou­sands in the gallery, wit­ness­ing its im­ages just as we are. Do they her­ald the end of hu­man­ity and the rise of the ma­chines?

In­side out …

This is what AI pro­duces when it tries to read our minds. The amor­phous flick­er­ing shapes in­vite us hu­mans to make fur­ther in­ter­pre­ta­tive ef­forts, bring­ing our own ex­pe­ri­ence to bear on what we see. The mis­match from con­scious­ness to con­scious­ness is un­canny, creepy and a lit­tle comic.

Ser­pen­tine Gallery, W2, to 10 Feb

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