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Monday, August 6, 2012

Bio-Art: Asymmetrical Butterflies.

Well, that was a stressful weekend. So let's ease our minds with a look at some nice, pretty butterflies...


...Wait a minute! This butterfly is not perfectly symmetrical! What's going on, here?

In 1999-2000, Portuguese artist Marta de Menezes began working with butterflies of the genera Heliconius and Bicyclus. After presumably mastering their breeding habits, she began manipulating the wing patterns of one wing only while they were still metamorphosing. The pieces were collectively called Nature? They now reside in the artist's home.

Her motivation?  To create a butterfly just as natural as it was man-made. Think about it: One wing was the only thing altered on these butterflies. The same cannot be said of, say, the GFP Bunny. The butterfly's unique metamorphose allowed it to be manipulated differently from every other animal. Neat, huh?



Each butterfly is also 100% unique. Since these patterns are made during the butterfly's life, it was certainly not inherited.  Every butterfly lovingly has its very own pattern on its wing. No two are exactly alike. We could totally market this, but we aren't allowed to do that.

Thing is, these wing patterns aren't permanent. Menezes did not breed the butterflies to be asymmetrical. She went in there in the chrysalis stage and made little designs with a hot wire. The traits thus applied will not be passed on to the offspring. Unlike most genetic art, this piece is impermanent. It's about as permanent as a tattoo, in other words.

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