‘Butterfly Strobe’
Drawing & Installation
Info ︎
On Tuesday around 3:10 I saw a moth on the bathroom window. It was flying directly into the glass, confused by the transparency of the window when trying to get outside,

At that time of day the Sun's position in the sky was not only aligned to the back of the house where the bathroom is, but was set at the same height as the window is. As a result, the sun as a light source was shining in a straight line directly through the window and onto the blank wall of the bathroom. As an object on the window the moth cast a direct shadow onto it.
The form of the shadow the moth cast onto the wall alternated as it's wings extended out and came together with each beat in it's attempt to fly out of the window. Positioned directly face on to the sun, it's form when its wings were drawn together rendered as a very thin line, barely noticeable as a shadow. With it's wings fully extended the shadow was rendered as a large spherical form with soft edges, due to the distance between the window and the wall.
In short, with the moth flying directly towards the sun, it's shadow alternated between these two forms, the 'off' of the wings drawn together and the 'on' of the spherical shadow as it flapped it wings. This spherical shadow seen when the wings were extended was therefore strobing on and off at the rapid rate at which moths must beat their wings in order to fly. It was a rare, incidental and naturally occurring specific type of strobe light, projected onto a blank wall as these factors all aligned momentarily.

Installed proposal

Butterfly strobe recreation installation sketch

Frequency Proposal

I am proposing the creation of a specific strobe light frequency to be registered and exhibited. It is defined from the exact pulse rate derived from a moth's beating wings. It can be used and exhibited in any circumstance, so long as it pulses at this specific frequency. ︎


Orrerys were instruments used to demonstrate theories about the solar system and astrology. In the absence of emperical answers, people looked to the stars as a way to seek answers and meaningful ways to live their lives. In being so untouchable, they represented the ultimate unknown onto which a rationale can be projected. They were the empty space which belief systems and a set of principles to guide your life could expand into.

We used them to embody our belief systems, about the cosmos and the stars and how they align.  These Orrery’s represent this Cosmic feeling, that you have gained an understanding of your purpose.

As objects they are both

- A tool powered by mathematic principles
- A physcial embodiment of a set of ideas and theories
- A record of the human desire to measure and quantify and understand.

They had an importance in terms of the meaning of life and purpose and destiny which extended beyond their strict scientific functionality. They are interesting objects in this sense because they represent something incredibly meticulous and rigid but they also represent the more fluxy, chaotic form of truth. Something about this is harmonioius with the butterfly strobe experience.

Artificial Orrery

This is an orrery serving the artificial light sources we have made for ourselves. Instead of the grand system it freezes and encompasses 3 different events which took place but all contained an element of this aligning of factors, a suggestion of different circuits that things operate on.

When a cloud passes over a city, lot’s of people switch on their house lights - there is a surge in electricity demand in that area. 
The phasing light signals from the tail lights of different planes on their various flightlines being centralised through the eye of someone watching them though a window
The sun aligning at the right moment to turn a moths wings into a strobe light.