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06/2006 – Press release
NPR's Jon Brumit & Lee Montgomery with Sarah Wagner

Lepidopterists, 2006
Collaborative installation, performance & radio transmission
See also: Homie & Lepidopterists at Projekt 0047, Berlin

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Lepidopterist is the technical name for a butterfly. Le podiatrist is how the word is sometimes fittingly mispronounced. Lepidopterists was the material manifestation of 3 individuals’ travels to and within Berlin and Homie. It began as a conversation about fusing the combined interests of the collaborators and ended up as a salsa fresca, chopped parts stirred together, each retaining identity and integrity, as opposed to cream of asparagus soup, where the parts are blended. There was a sweetness to it, most likely a reflection of the delight of travel and the documentation of cross cultural interactions with creative people that ended up fueling the work conceptually.

Pinned to the right wall, were “thank you” letters adorned with butterfly stickers. Written by Lee Montgomery, the letters were reflections of his gratitude for people he met in Europe on his way to Berlin; ending with a sincere appreciation of the hospitality shown by the Lepidopterist’s hosts at Homie. Hanging from the ceiling were colorful laminated butterflies, created by Jon Brumit. These crazy butterflies were comprised of cut-outs of household paper refuse and unused stickers of football heros from the World Cup Games that were sealed hermetically in plastic and hung almost invisibly from plastic string.

Hanging sporadically among the butterflies were shimmery white silk pods, created by Sarah Wagner, that sit somewhere between butterfly nets and ghostly shadows of feet. They were traces of the feet of the people who lived at or visited Homie during the Lepidopterists’ stay.

In the rear left corner, was a radio studio that broadcast through the internet to the next room, creating an echo of conversation from one room to the next due to a delay in transmission as the signal generated in the gallery was sent out to the rest of the world before it returned to Homie. As you entered the gallery, preumably en route for a beer, your first stop would invariably be the radio station. You could have a conversation, and end it with a knock knock joke that you could tell to yourself in the next room where people were drinking. If you spoke on the radio in the gallery you never had to worry about having someone to talk to when you entered the party in the next room. You could always just talk to or listen to yourself or the next person in the studio.

On the left, there was a shelf filled with objects. Below the shelf was a guitar that generated sound through a digital delay. The objects were used to create looping sounds with the guitar. With the guitar and the digital delay any visitor could create their own looping soundtrack. Equipped with a soundtrack and the drifting remnants of their first conversation in the gallery, all visitors were constantly engaged and interacting with the products of this intricate installation even as they escaped the gallery for the socialization of the bar. Everything served as collected evidence of the interactions that the three Lepidopterists had during their cultural excavation of Berlin and Homie gallery.

LM