Vibeke Mascini

Dust Suns

Dust Suns, iv
Decayed moths and butterflies, static electricity enclosed within airplane windows, optium, steel screws
34,3 x 24,1 x 1,3 cm
Eu 2.200 (excluding VAT and shipping)

Vibeke Mascini
Born in 1989, The Hague, the Netherlands
Lives and works in The Hague, the Netherlands

Vibeke Mascini’s work studies situations in which systems falter and the rules fail. She probes formal definitions recorded in declarations and objects on the basis of science, landscape and language. She infiltrates contemporary systems using interventions, installations and texts, thereby contributing alternative ideas.

Dust Suns arose from an issue surrounding the concept of ‘indigenous’, concerning butterfly and moth species (Lepidoptera).

Mascini became acquainted with the international industry around exotic Lepidoptera, in which living pupae and cocoons are sent by mail from butterfly farms—located for example in the Dominican Republic—to botanical gardens all around the world. She found the fact that many of these beings make their first flight in an airplane both exciting and alienating, all the more because this flight takes place at a moment of radical metamorphosis, precisely during the process in which their wings are formed.

The limitlessness of Lepidoptera prompted Mascini to explore several of their travel routes. Species that are currently considered indigenous (for instance in the Netherlands) were not a few years, decades, let alone a century or more ago. Many Lepidoptera have arrived in their current habitat quite recently as immigrants. Possibly the most famous moth—the kind that ravages your favorite sweater—was likely introduced to Europe with the import of African fabrics and animal skins in Victorian times. Transported as luggage, whether as an exotic trophy, cocoon or pupa, or as an unnoticed larva, Lepidoptera travel the world. Aircrafts are their common vehicles. But there is also an ancient, alternative airway through which butterflies, moths—but also other insects and pollen from various plants–travel. These are natural, high-altitude air currents that move light particles and creatures from continent to continent. Depending on weather conditions, the migrant Lepidoptera end up in new territories and may or may not survive there. Climate change is an important factor in this.

The title Dust Suns refers to writer and scientist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg’s coincidental experiments in which dust lay bare the generally invisible patterns of static electricity, he named these patterns ‘Staubsonnen’.