Pierre Huyghe, If The Swamp, 2021. Scanned forest, real-time simulation, generative mutations and sounds, intelligent camera, environmental sensors, animals, plants, micro-organisms and materialized mutations: synthetic and biological material aggregate © Pierre Huyghe. Courtesy of the artist; Hauser & Wirth, London; Kistefos. 3D Scanning, point cloud visualization and point cloud engine by ScanLAB Projects
08 Feb 2022

Pierre Huyghe to create site-specific work ‘If The Swamp’ at Kistefos in Norway

The artist’s largest permanent work to date will be unveiled in summer 2022

‘If The Swamp’ has emerged and will be on view at Kistefos museum this coming summer. ‘If The Swamp’ is an entity, a milieu, both physical and digital, permeable, continuously shaped by flood waters and modified by what it perceives. It is simultaneously an island and the possibility of what this island could be under alternate conditions of reality.

The entire site has been scanned, down to its details, and digitized. In the simulated environment, unbound from physical limitations, algorithmic and biological agents intelligences cooperate. A fiction based set of rules is played out by learning machines that continually generate mutations of existing features, such as trees, trash, animals or humans. The mutations change behaviours in real time according to external factors, accelerating their growth with the flood water, and transforming over the years. At times they randomly exit the simulation to manifest themselves physically on the actual island. They sustain or decompose, modifying the island’s appearance and progressively contaminate the existing reality with another possibility of itself. At the far end of the forest stands a screen where an autonomous eye navigates the simulated environment, witnessing its ever-changing nature.

Kistefos is situated in Jevnaker, one hour north of Oslo. Photo: Laurian Ghinitoiu

Pierre Huyghe lives and works in New York. Photo: Ola Rindal

Pierre Huyghe’s works are conceived as scenarios, excesses of fiction and often present themselves as a continuity between a wide range of intelligent life forms, biological, technological and tangible inert matter that learn, modify and evolve. They are permeable, contingent and often indifferent to witnesses. His recent exhibitions include ‘After UUmwelt,’ Luma Foundation, Arles (2021); ‘UUmwelt,’ Serpentine Gallery, London (2018); ‘The Roof Garden,’ Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2015). From 2012 – 2014, a major retrospective of Huyghe’s work travelled from the Centre Pompidou (France) to the Ludwig Museum (Germany) and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

Kistefos is one of Europe’s most important sculpture parks for contemporary art. Built on the grounds of a historical pulp mill, Kistefos comprises a museum, two art galleries and an impressive sculpture park in scenic surroundings. Each year the sculpture park is expanded with a new commission.

Learn more about ‘If The Swamp’ at Kistefos museum.

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