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iMigration 2, by Anthony Head

Last summer, we were delighted to host iMigration, a unique temporary installation as part of the Forest of the Imagination festival. The sculpture made such an impact on us and our visitors, we've invited the artist, Anthony Head, lecturer and researcher at Bath Spa University, to recreate this wonderful experience in our South Transept.

iMigration 2 by Anthony Head is a large-scale sculpture, a swarm of colourful paper butterflies, spanning five metres and suspended ten metres up in the air inside the Abbey. The first impression for the audience is of a single group, a swarm of creatures that appear to be the same. Closer inspection reveals that each butterfly is unique, with its own digital genetic code and individual wing pattern influenced by random mutations.

The sculpture, like its predecessor iMigration, continues the exploration of the themes of migration, diversity and individuality. In the swarm each butterfly features colour and patterns designed with computational methods: procedural textures and the fractal mathematics of nature. The butterflies move gently in the air currents that fill the Abbey as if travelling on a migration. In today’s world of human migration and its reporting, it’s easy to forget how unique each person is, to reduce people to anonymous groups, stereotypes, or just numbers.  This work challenges us to think differently.

The artist invites us the audience to seek out individual stories of migration, of fellow human beings in a world saturated by ‘mass’ media reporting, statistics and the digital consumption of news.