A Cryptic Species Complex

Joseph Gregory Rossano's avatar Joseph Gregory Rossano

My installation, A Cryptic Species Complex, an interactive sculpture, leads the viewer on a journey to realize the depth of Biodiversity in what appear to be identical individual butterflies. Each of these blue butterflies, despite their conspicuous similarities, is a unique species. Only when the viewer sees an image of the larval caterpillars--the juveniles of each species--so very different in color and form, is the diversity revealed. Using a common smart phone application, a web address, or simply reading the texts hidden beneath each of the two dimensional codes, the viewer is brought to understand how DNA barcoding deciphers these mysteries of the natural world. My installation applies technology of this moment's generation to expand and deepen understanding earned by now-vanishing generations of taxonomists. Each butterfly is constructed from foam originally used to manufacture composite components for US fighter aircraft, recycling into irony.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 3-D
  • Depth: 3"
  • Medium: Acrylic, polyurethane, glass sand, silver, and text
  • Width: 20'
  • Year created: 2012
  • Height: 9"