Realities of ecosystems on our planet seen through insect eyes and data sets.

The art-sci project Butterfly}Pieris{Effect aims to increase awareness of us humans for the importance of other creatures in our ecosystem. The majority of people have a very anthropocentric world view. However, it should not be forgotten that human beings cannot survive without the many other living beings, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant they may be. The installation presents a soundscape with snippets of expert comments on the topic of ecosystems and butterflies. The model organism for this project is often seen as a "crop pest" - nevertheless there are no "weeds" or "pests" in a functioning ecosystem. Therefore, we deliberately choose Pieris brassicae the Cabbage White for this project.

Interdisciplinary Consortium

The project is an austrian-british collaboration of Alfred Vendl and Martina Fröschl of the Science Visualization Lab of the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the internationally renown documentary film director Steve Nicholls, Thomas Schwaha of the Zoology department of the University of Vienna, Stephan Handschuh at the VetCore Imaging of the Veterinary University of Vienna, artist Michael Bachhofer and the butterfly expert Arthur Bürger. 

Butterfly Perspective Exhibition

Immerse yourself in the world of butterflies!


Butterfly Perspective

Immerse yourself in a captivating journey through high-resolution scans of butterflies and experience Butterfly}Pieris{Effect, a thought-provoking media installation showing computer animations of microCT scan data (VR, projection mapping) that challenges our human-centric worldview. Imagine the fascinating perspectives of these tiny creatures as you discover the delicate balance between human existence and the intricate world of insects, inspiring a reevaluation of our perspective on the often-overlooked inhabitants of our ecosystem.

Exhibition at ADM Gallery at NTU Singapore

Butterfly}Pieris{Effect was nominated for the Global Digital Art Prize of NTU Singapore. Hence, the project was exhibited
from 25th November 2022 to 27th January 2023 at the nominee exhibition.


Installation at Schmiede Hallein 2022

Insect and human view of things

In the installation, visitors might try the perspective of the caterpillar's view in contrast to the human gaze. The human view is represented by a huge egg with a projection mapping of a caterpillar in it's egg and the insect view can be experienced in a Virtual Reality video.

Butterfly}Pieris{Effect: Finalist at the NTU Global Digital Art Prize

Butterflies and Caterpillars where invited to present themselves at the finalist's exhibition and conference!

Pieris sp. embryo

Pieris sp. morphes through three developmental stages in a butterfly egg. Three scanned data sets of butterfly embryos colored, morphed and rendered.

Scan of freshly hatched Pieris caterpillar

Raw data of microCT scan of bred and hatched Pieris sp. caterpillar.

Planet Insect

Starting point of the project were computer-animated scientific visualization shots for the documentary series "Planet Insect" by Steve Nicholls produced for Curiosity Stream. An animation of the "Fly Haltere" - the gyroscopic organ of flies is included in the trailer: https://vimeo.com/727388756/e3a6212cf6.

Residency at the University of Salzburg to develop "Fly... Butterfly".

The basic principle of tomography is largely known because of MRI scans. Nevertheless, it never ceases to amaze recipients that this technique is used in so many scientific investigations in the micro and nano range with similar technical principles. Such scanned organic entities are not only sampled on the surface, as is done in photogrammetry, but volumetric data are created and these cross-section stacks also provide detailed information from the inside of the specimen. Existing imaging data of hoverflies and butterfly eggs can be worked out by developing the data into larger-than-life representations. The project aims to bring the wonder that our ecosystem and the diverse life on our earth represents to all visitors. Insects make up an important part of our ecosystem, and their population and diversity has declined sharply in recent years. Often only small steps, such as no poison and no or less mowing the lawn, have to be implemented to do something to protect insects. The project aims to create new formats that can expand their impact on society as a whole through an interaction between digital, biological, spiritual and cultural spaces.

Fly... Butterfly: Raw Data

Pieris brassica caterpillar in egg

Moth antenna

Fly part with haltere