Bug Cinema is a new ecological forest art commission for the Whale Oil to Whole Foods summer eco-arts festival in Greene County (Hudson Valley), on the edge of the Catskill Mountains, upper New York State. The eco-arts festival consists of a large group exhibition, site specific artworks, and accompanying public events in June/July 2012. Manifest through a collaboration between Greene County Arts and the Cornell Agroforestry Centre, it is curated by eco-artist Christy Rupp and GCCA Catskill Gallery Director, Fawn Potash.
Bug Cinema’s work-in-progress will be located in the Siuslaw Model Forest, from 25 June to 9 July.
Bug Cinema will be revealed to the forest as a portable ‘glow-lab’ ultraviolet solar light sculpture: a trans-disciplinary hybrid of art/entomology: poetry/science in synthesis. Taking the entomologist’s traditional light trap, field work apparatus to another level, Bug Cinema will function as an integrated, collaborative inter-species ‘social-sculpture’ and biodiversity research project. Essentially, this sculpture will embody a distinctive minimalist aesthetic, playfully combined with a desire to facilitate the observation of moth species living in the forest. Until now, there has never been a nocturnal Lepidoptera (moth) survey/research formally conducted in the Siuslaw Model Forest.
Bug Cinema will transform areas of the forest into a film/theatre-like staging of light and shadow, subsequently becoming a social space for moths, humans and other wildlife, through which the ‘performance of life’ will be played out. Cinema is, fundamentally, light projected on to a white screen, so herin lies the significance of the project’s title. In the context of this artwork, the moth species and humans might actually become the silhouette ‘moving images’ on the screens of the glow lab, thus emerging as performers illuminated in a play of space, place and ecological relationships. In a small series of twilight public events, visitor participants will be invited to share a unique journey through the forest to the Bug Cinema glow lab. Here they will encounter the moth communities that emerge in the environment and will have the opportunity to observe their interdependent relationship with the various tree species and the wider ecosystem.
Moths are crucial players in ecosystems: they are nocturnal plant pollinators and efficient soil aerators, among other things. By its existence, Bug Cinema will celebrate the wonder of these elusive and beautiful insects. During my residency as artist at the Agroforestry Centre, visual evidence of the moth species will be collected on a daily basis using photography and video. Over a 10 day research period, all sightings, observations and identifications will be shared with the public via this blog and as a work-in-progress Moth Map (wall display) for visitors to the Centre. The identification of the moths is being made possible through the generous expertise and knowledge of Heather Connelly, a PhD researcher at Cornell Dept. of Entomology. For more information on Heather’s work, please see the Collaborations page on this blog.
Bug Cinema is being specifically designed to have minimal environmental impact. Physically, it is not a permanent artwork and therefore it will be an ephemeral and temporal action that exists for only a few days in the forest. Absolutely no moths or other insects will be harmed during the project.