Artist Jenny Kendler Creates Imaginative Experience of Butterfly Vision in Garden of Kentucky Wildflowers
CHICAGO (August 27, 2015) – Louisville is about to be home to a provocative new public space designed to help people see like a butterfly. Chicago-based artist Jenny Kendler, who is currently Artist in Residence with Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), has created an interactive butterfly garden/art installation that integrates critical habitat and food for monarch butterflies alongside lighting effects that will illuminate the space in a way that illustrates how butterflies see the world. Entitled Field of Vision: A Garden for Others, the park along the Ohio River will be featured in “Connect|Disconnect,” a public art exhibition that opens on August 28, sponsored by the Louisville Metro Government, in conjunction with the Commission on Public Art.
“By creating an imaginative experience of ‘butterfly vision,’ I hope that Field of Vision will help people connect with these amazing creatures. Additionally, I want people visiting the pollinator park to think about how they can help protect butterflies and our native ecosystems,” said Kendler.
The monarch butterfly, an iconic North American species that makes a unique 2,500 mile annual migration from the mountains of central Mexico to Canada and back, has been in serious decline for 15 years. Once numbering as many as a billion, only 56.5 million of the orange-and-black winged pollinators were counted year, the second lowest total ever.
Experts say the primary cause for the population collapse is the skyrocketing use of the herbicide glyphosate (originally marketed as Roundup) on genetically modified corn and soybeans, which has wiped out much of the milkweed -- a native wildflower -- that monarchs need to survive. NRDC is working to save the monarch migration by limiting the use of glyphosate and increasing monarch habitat by planting milkweed throughout the Midwest.
“Monarchs are akin to canaries in the coal mine, in that they are a signal of the dangers of herbicide overuse. One of the best ways to save the monarchs is to educate people about the special nature of butterflies, which this art exhibit accomplishes beautifully. People who love butterflies can do two things to help the monarch: plant milkweed and flowers to nourish them, and tell the EPA and elected officials that it’s time to limit massive overuse of herbicides that kill milkweed and threaten human health,” said Sylvia Fallon, Senior Scientist with NRDC.
According to Kendler, visitors to Field of Vision are invited to envision how pollinators observe the garden during the day—and to return at night for an even more magical experience. After the sun sets, a mysterious glow entices visitors from afar, inviting nighttime adventures. This magical effect, created with solar-powered UV lights and fluorescing elements at the garden site, can be investigated by visitors in greater depth by checking out Adventure Kits containing high-powered UV flashlights, special light-filtering glasses & UV markers at sites like the nearby science and art museums. Guests are even invited to leave a secret message for pollinators or other visitors by tagging the project with this “invisible” ink.
To visit a Field of Vision, follow directions to the location provided by the Louisville Metro Government and the Commission on Public Art https://louisvilleky.gov/news/connect-disconnect-public-art-experience