Art Installation Lets You See World Through Butterfly’s Eyes

September 12, 2019 1 Comment


We are in the ‘Butterfly Biosphere’ aka ‘The Pleasures of the Nectar Dome.’ It’s a butterfly house in the heart of London, in Grosvenor square. The installation is a Buckminster Fuller-style geodesic dome that’s filled with prisms, with dichromatic film, and of course, butterflies themselves. I’m Sam Bompas of Bompas & Parr and we call ourselves “Experience Designers.” We actually issue everyone coming in with these wonderful, prismatic spectacles, which when you put it on, it’s like you’re in a dream – a fantastical, butterfly dream. And the spectacles actually mirror what the butterflies are seeing. So as you’re navigating your way around the Butterfly Biosphere in Grosvenor square, it’s almost as if you’ve become a butterfly for the day. So you start off here, at the chrysalis emerging case. So you can actually see hundreds of the butterflies there, in their chrysalises, waiting to hatch. One very exciting moment we have here every day. So we open up the case and the butterflies fly through to experience their full life. There’s also a feeding table, where butterflies really love, um, you know, slightly fermenting fruit. So you’ll see food that perhaps is a little bit past the sell-by date, but the butterflies absolutely relish it. We’ve also got a butterfly throne where you can sit and if you’re very still, the butterflies might land on you. Since I’ve been in here, I’ve had a couple land on me. I think maybe it’s cause I’m wearing some very colourful clothes. So wear your most colourful attire if you’re coming down. Our development chef, Danny, has worked up a butterfly nectar that if you pop down you can sample. So it’s almost like the first butterfly café. So you can sip on the nectar just as the butterflies are doing around you here. I’m Paul from Butterfly Jungles. I’m the director of a company involved in butterfly installations. So basically we replicated the rainforest as much as we possibly can with conditions. So you’re looking around about 30 degrees – it’s quite hot in there. And around about 80 percent humidity, which is a nice jungly feel. So the butterflies feel right at home and we’ve also got a huge spectrum of nectar plants in there, specifically for the butterflies to feed from. And some butterflies are fruit feeders so we had the fruit tables in there as well. So the butterflies we get in for this exhibit and all exhibits are sustainably farmed in the countries where they’re coming from. So there’s a broad spectrum of colour, including some amazing, iridescent blue butterflies called Blue Morphos. These come from places like Costa Rica and the Amazon rainforest basically. I think probably the biggest misconception is the fact that butterflies also pollinate. It’s really important we look after our pollinators now. And with 76 percent of UK species in decline, it’s something we should all get involved in. So this is about awareness really, this project. So bringing out the beauty in butterflies and just show people how amazing they are but also things we can do at home to help our UK populations. I think if you want to stimulate people, to encourage them to change what they’re doing, the best way is to create a moment of wonder and delight. And art and design can facilitate that. Here we’re talking about our relationship with nature, but we’re doing it in such a way that charms and beguiles rather than telling people that they’re awful people for consuming goods and creating waste packaging.

One Reply to “Art Installation Lets You See World Through Butterfly’s Eyes”

  1. Venser says:

    Wish I could go there.

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