8 July 2019
This collaborative project with Faith La Rocque offered a conversational follow-up to our 2017 event, She changes everything She touches and everything She touches changes (Vanessa), both were hosted by Moire’s Catwalk.
Link to an associated Luna Reader.
Influenced by the Luna moth (Actias luna), the aim of this evening event was to embody a more sympathetic relationship to lepidoptera. We created UV and mercury bulb light sculptures to attract moths to our gathering. Guests included members of the High Park Moth Study, landscape architects, a florist, artists, naturalists, and curators.
The event commenced with a welcome libation while encouraging everyone to turn off their phones to (potentially) reduce electromagnetic frequencies/radiation (EMF/EMR) which are posited to interfere with pollinator navigation. Happily, everyone agreed. We followed with a site acknowledgment and an informal collaborative drawing activity in pairs. Using various field guides, including the Peterson Field Guide to Insects of North America , one person verbally described an insect while another drew it based solely on the communicated description (i.e. without ever seeing it); after, the participants switched roles. Eating followed drawing. We served a green, planty-dinner grown by local farmers and moonshine cocktails infused with bee-balm from the garden. For dessert we ate artisanal bergamot ice cream made by Faith’s partner, Chris. As dusk settled, Ella read The Man-Moth, a poem by Elizabeth Bishop inspired by a typo, a slip in communication: Man-Moth: Newspaper misprint for “mammoth”. The poem follows the title character’s attempt to scale the walls of the sky on his way to the moon.
After dark, our group donned silver thermal safety ponchos and congregated around the light sculptures to begin observing our moth visitors. Envelope within this protective cocoon of reflective material, the ponchos were intended to open lines of sympathetic communication between our human guests and the light-sensitive moths. This material is also sometimes worn by internet-proponents to ward off EMF/EMR. Thank you to all of our guests, particularly David Beadle and Taylor Leedahl for sharing their knowledge, and to Aryen Hoekstra and Chris Stopa.
10 September 2017
A collaborative research project & installation with Faith La Rocque, featuring theremin and live butterflies (Vanessa cardui a.k.a. painted lady butterflies).
Link to a conversation reflecting upon the event’s observations, aftereffects, and future between Faith & Ella.
Thank you to the following for sharing their time and knowledge: Staff at Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory; Cheryl Tyndall, curator of the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory; Antonia Guidotti, entomologist at the Royal Ontario Museum; Jennifer Carpenter, professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto; Clara Venice, musician and performing artist; and Chris Stopa. Documentation by Colin Miner for Moire’s Catwalk.