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Investigating the Relational Aesthetics of Pierre Huyghe



“I’m not interested in interconnected things, in relation to each other, but in their interdependency,”

“What you have there is really a network of self-organizing systems,” Huyghe said. “They are in constant displacement. They grow, they evolve, they shift. There’s no master-slave in that regard. They shift constantly.”

“I’m interested in letting, in a certain way, self-organizing systems try either to find or to not find a symbiosis,” Huyghe said. “I try my best not to intervene within it.”

Huyghe’s work thrives on the friction that results from the interaction of planned systems and the aleatoric actions that can occur within them once they are allowed to function.

He designed the system such that the technology involved is dependent on natural factors, reversing the traditional notion that technologies can somehow bring nature under control.

Huyghe explains that the project’s complexity isn’t intended to confuse viewers but instead to make them question where its processes (and thereby wider processes within our lives) begin and end. “It's a way to shift the centrality of the human position—whether as a maker or receptor. Indiscernibility and unpredictability are among other operations that could shift that position,”

Whereas his documenta installation illustrated human beings’ place within a larger system, only parts of which we can control, After ALife Ahead more acutely reflects the extent to which we attempt to intervene in these processes through technology, believing that we can bring logic and control to them. Instead interventions—whether technological, political, or otherwise—more often than not end in a way that couldn’t have been fully foreseen at their outset.