Moth Liturgy, 2016
A series of pigment inkjet prints on archival rag paper digitally reiterating camera-less images on gelatin silver films made on location at Mount Buffalo, Victoria. Each is a pigment inkjet print 51 cm x 187 cm on a 61 cm x 200 cm rag paper sheet. Produced as edition of one + artist’s proof. Enquire here.
Over a recent summer hundreds of native Bogong Moths Agrotis infusa were carefully gathered alive from a summit cave at Mount Buffalo high in the Australian Alps. At night, gelatin silver films suspended behind the huddled, crawling and fluttering lepidoptera were exposed to a light pulse without a camera. The resulting monochrome negatives traced their diminutive shadows at life-scale.
We tend to regard insects as odious and mindless. Tonally inverted, vividly colourized and greatly enlarged, this digital reiteration is unmoored from the scale and context of its making. Yet this very distancing and artificiality reveals a beauty and agency in abject creatures we might otherwise not perceive. Yet this very distancing and artificiality reveals a beauty, agency – even a sense of the numinous – in abject creatures we might otherwise not perceive. As a ‘keystone’ species critical to and dependent upon a fragile upland ecosystem increasingly disturbed by anthropogenic climate change, these shadows portend an imminent absence.
Many of the original plein air films scanned to produce Moth Liturgy have been mounted on glass to form part of the artwork Ekkyklêma.