Dance Of The Butterflies

Adrian Ganea

12 November – 16 December, 2022

When thinking of the first images, two instances come into mind. One is the first photograph taken by Nicéphore Niépce in 1816, an image of nature: a view from a window; that we will never see. It was a negative and the image vanished as in broad daylight the coated paper became completely black. He called these images retinas.. His Point de vue du Gras is acknowledged as the first photographic image to have survived up to this day.

The oldest known cave painting is a red hand stencil in Maltravieso cave, Cáceres, Spain. It has been dated using the uranium-thorium method to older than 64,000 years and was made by a Neanderthal (most probably).

But nature has preceded us by tens of millions of years. At least. Butterfly eyespots play an essential role in natural and sexual selection, yet the evolutionary origins of eyespots and of their underlying gene regulatory network remain unknown. We know that eyespots evolved once within the family Nymphalidae, approximately 90 million years ago, concurrent with expression of at least three genes associated with early eyespot development.

If you brush against the wings of a butterfly, you will likely come away with a fine sprinkling of powder. This lepidopteran dust is made up of tiny microscopic scales, hundreds of thousands of which paper a butterfly’s wings like shingles on a wafer-thin roof. The structure and arrangement of these scales give a butterfly its color and shimmer, and help shield the insect from the elements. What is more fascinating is that some of the coloring of the butterflies wings are not pigment based, rather scales refracting light. How did the butterfly know how owls or predatory birds’ eyes looked, in order to mimic them? Were there ever less faithful reproductions? Most probably, but for sure they were unsuccessful at repelling predators as the ones that were more convincing. Nature is the best tester.

We are still trailing in nature’s path, creating virtual testing grounds of our own: digital realities which we call home, where creations that defy physics and logic reside. But are they so unearthly? Are they liberated of anything that is familiar to us, and be completely unrelated to anything else we have ever experienced. Not really. So far we cannot produce something that even in our wildest imagination is not based on something that we have experienced. Ask a person born blind if they dream images.

ADRIAN GANEA (b. 1989) lives and works in Cluj-Napoca (RO). Adrian’s practice varies from theater scenography to sculpture and 3D animations. He works generally in the field of performing arts, being particularly interested in digital culture. He is particularly concerned with how various forms of fiction can materialize through the subjectivity of technologies. He generally composes his works in an attempt to create liminal spaces, building green screen sets, digital worlds and simulations where the boundary between the intangible and the material becomes ambiguous. 

The event is part of the project Collateral Endeavors, carried out by the Lateral ArtSpace in 2022. Cultural project co-financed by the National Cultural Fund Administration. The project does not necessarily represent the position of the National Cultural Fund Administration. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project or how the project results can be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding.