Room 3:

The fascinating, and compelling thing about the Madagascan sunset moth, or Chrysiridia Rhipheus is its appearance or at least perceived appearance. 

It is very colourful, though the iridescent parts of the wings do not have pigment; rather the colours originate from optical interference.

In physics, interference is a phenomenon in which two waves superpose to form a resultant wave of greater, lower, or the same amplitude. Constructive and destructive interference result from the interaction of waves that are correlated or coherent with each other, either because they come from the same source or because they have the same or nearly the same frequency. Interference effects can be observed with all types of waves, in this case light.

Because the frequency of light waves (~1014 Hz) is too high to be detected by currently available detectors, it is possible to observe only the intensity of an optical interference pattern.

When dissected this is vastly intriguing, and reminds us that only a small portion of art and artistic expression especially in relation to the exhibition is really “there”. We bring our own viewpoints to the work, our context warps and contextualises the work, as of such we become and inevitably exist in the work as observer becomes art and artist practise becomes in the observing. Ultimately this insect reminds us that whether or not we understand this complexity that comes from observed and observer, there is a magic involved that undeniably comes from each of us. And whether or not it’s there what we see isn’t always physical but can be energetic and that is important to recognise as art in its own right.