Butterfly Habitat (2022)
Amy Thai’s latest immersive art installation, “Butterfly Habitat”, launches at the Mayflower St. Leonards
A newly released art installation, “Butterfly Habitat”, by founder and creative director of Don de L’Amour and multidisciplinary artist Amy Thai at The Mayflower St. Leonards showcases large-scale floral sculptures partnered with digital media artist Kevin Ly’s moving pictures and augmented reality.
Behind such lyrical, expressive and rich work, Thai’s success in the world of floristry and art gave her more freedom to pursue creative research and exploration in the digital space. “Butterfly Habitat” is a project that blossomed into more elaborate experiments with florals, generative art and code-based patterning.
Alongside renowned new media artist Refik Anadol, Thai layers her work with Kevin Ly’s multi-layered graphic projections that produce movements, such as water, fireflies and flocking birds, to highlight the functions of nature. These movements are sequenced by Ly in an elegantly poised model and transforms the sculptures into a multi-sensory experience. This dazzling, kaleidoscopic and immersive work was designed to explore migration patterns of a genus of blue butterflies, and the fluidity and constant shaping of the natural environment and the interior space in which the winged creatures are exhibited. The projection-mapping concept considered by Ly and Thai illuminates on their canvases around the space through the use of innovative light, movement and visual work where the tacit agreement between the materials and audience enables the act of viewing, experiencing and deep engagement.
“Butterfly Habitat” is a unique curatorial and sculptural assemblage, an exercise in synthesis, a durational digital sequence, a harmony of intentions, a visual text that dances, a mapping of relations in nature, an extended conversation and interestingly, a lean into the future. It is made up of two moving parts: a bed of delicate butterflies and a pair of monumental butterfly sculptures.
At eye level, vivid hypercolour prints of sapphire paper monarchs are overlaid with nature-inspired projections emphasising a visceral connection between humanity and nature. Amy Thai’s symbolic gestures and processes that call on the element of impression are often used to produce a galaxy of images that embody the intimate connections between human existence, nature and ecology.
Thai’s works are intentionally layered to impart messages that reflect on experiences of transition and rebirth. Rather than singular visual statements, they are thoughtful objects intersecting with Ly’s projection mapping and interactivity. Thai’s latest installation is where meaning emerges from her sustained meditations.
Each mark-marking gesture is a pitch into eternity – meeting with this moment – indeed in Thai’s philosophy of eternity isn’t anywhere else but here, there is only this moment of now. Such mark-marking draws on one’s presence in the moment, in sites of memory and storytelling and can also be seen in Thai’s detailed orchestration of vibrant prints and hand-sprayed hues, dried florals and foliage, hessian textures and soft pleats. Thai places emphasis on the way the sculptures are suspended to create impressions of natural and soothing flow and movement. Particularly, the pair of butterfly sculptures were welded on a 30 degree angle to mimic the natural flutter of butterfly wings. Such an evocative palette of materials and techniques reimagine the art of floristry, sculpture and digital design on a grand and mesmerising scale.
Conversations between these elements are at the heart of Thai’s practice as a floral designer and visual artist, and the results are visually astounding. “Butterfly Habitat” radiates a spectrum of brilliant colours while interplays with imagination, art and Ly’s technology. Each iteration of the work has been refined and inspired in some type of intangible way by the space and context in which it has been presented, whether through the spirit of the space, the fabric of the architecture, or Thai’s imagined dreamscapes of natural materials and clever ability to innovate what already exists.
Thai’s latest series of works is a representation of bodies, welded structures and their metamorphoses; the ever-changing relationship between persons and technologies; and the innate connection between bodies and the earth. Here, “Butterfly Habitat” invites the audience to sensorily explore this theme at the Mayflower.