Saturniidae Toccata

2021 / moths breeding, plants, UV lights, modular synths, solar cells, tape recorder, video film

At the meeting point of an immersive artistic experiment and a scientific study on epigenetics, the installation Saturniidae Toccata reveals possible links between living beings, light, music and time through the evolution of Bombyx Eri moths.It opens new ways of interactions between physical phenomena, natural process and human cultural langage (music) in order to create other kind of symbiosis, more poetic than a vital necessity.

After several months of caterpillars’ breeding, moths emerge on the walls of the « breeding room ». Then they are transferred to the « flying room » that contains a big net among plants, UV lights, modular synths. It’s like a hybrid ecosystem where Nature and human technology are in a symbiotic relationship. Synths’ parameters are modified live through UV lights intensity. Meanwhile moths are attracted by the light.
Bombyx Eris will live their whole life with this toccata until the egg laying before they pass out.

Later the music is recorded on magnetic tapes and broadcast to the orphan caterpillars of the next generation into the « breeding room » as an imaginary cultural legacy link.

So visitors will see both rooms during the exhibition containing caterpillars and moths. They will feel two rhythms trying to get in symbiosis, a natural process and a human cultural expression.

photos: Thomas Laigle, Laurent Lecat