In a City of Flowers is a holographic and interactive video installation that invites viewers to gently place their hand within small wooden shelters to hold a butterfly in their palm. The work consists of 12 of these houses, each hosting a different British breed: some thriving, some vulnerable or extinct, some migrating.
These houses resemble those for birds or insects found in the garden whose aim is to offer shelter and care for local species. In the installation, these houses are removed from this context to question what home is for these creatures. Most of our British butterflies are in decline due to pollution, change in climate, and light pollution affecting their local habitat.
Each house in the installation hosts a holographic video of a butterfly reflected in the centre like a ghostly and ungraspable apparition, only visible through a narrow peep hole. Through a larger hole, people can place their hands within to cup the butterflies, a tangible yet absent image, giving them a sense of intimacy and fragility and reminding us of our care and responsibility for the natural world.
Some of the butterfly species presented are extinct in the UK, such as Large Copper, Black Veined White; some are still thriving such as the Cabbage Butterfly; some are migrating species that come and go with the fluctuations of the Earth’s climate such as the Painted Lady. Each one is closely linked to the plant species in their habitat which provide food and shelter with some only feeding on particular plants.This work is a reminder of how important it is that we keep our urban and rural spaces packed with local plants and wildflowers.
Collaboratively produced with the Rule of Threes team. Consultations about outdoor showing in Light Festival contexts took place with Things That Go On Things. Consultations about butterflies took place with Widnes Greenhouse and Butterfly House and the national charity Butterfly Conservation.
The work will tour to various public outdoor and indoor locations from Autumn 2023. The species of butterflies in the installation can be adapted to the saison during which it is presented. The artist is currently creating a “winter series” that will present British butterflies that are active in winter months, specifically designed for outdoor light festivals.
Preview Crosby Library 23-30th of September 2023.
Presented as part of Light Night Wigan and Leigh 17-19th of November 2023.
Presented as part of NightFall in Middlesbrough 29th of November-3rd of December 2023.
More locations tbc end 2023/2024.
The work can be shown as a full series and there is also the possibility to rent individual houses. For pricing and availability, please contact email@example.com.
– Dimensions for individual houses vary from: H 130-180cm, W 40-60cm, D40-50 cm.
– The work is self contained. It comes in 4 main elements + AV equipment.
- House body
- House roofs that are locked onto the house body
- House legs that screw into the main body and slot in the base
- Concrete base with slots for legs
– Install time for the 12 houses is estimated to be between 4 – 7 hours depending on site.
– The installation itself does not require power as the technology runs with power packs. However, if presented outdoors, the installation should be lit and there its also a soundtrack accompanying the work.
A full Method Statement and Risk Assessment is available on demand.
A soundtrack to accompany the piece was created with sound artist Laura Campbell, an enchanted yet menacing nature soundscape to remind us of the beauty and diversity of our local wildlife and green spaces we can still save and grow.