For the past few months Indianapolis-based artist Tasha Lewis has been traveling around the country creating guerrilla installations using a swarms of 400 cyanotype butterflies printed on cotton fabric (cyanotype is a photographic printing process that results in blue images, just like blueprints). Each blue insect is embedded with powerful magnets allowing her to place them on any metallic surface without causing damage, which as far as impermanent street art goes, is brilliant. Of her work she says:
My current body of work was drawn from an investigation into the cultural/scientific/historical context in which the cyanotype was born. Popularized by scientists, and botanists in particular, the cyanotype is intrinsically tied into the scientific recording boom of the late 19th and early 20th century. These are the times of the curiosity cabinet, the prints of Anna Atkins and a rush of explorers/scientists to colonial lands only to bring back specimens from foreign ecosystems. [.. ] The cyanotype is a process of documenting. The resultant image is a kind of scientific stand-in for the actual object in question. It is the trace of the original. In this way, like cyanotype’s use for building blue prints in more recent centuries, my work is formed as the re-presentation of something real; it is somehow not quite the object itself.”
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