Papilionumismia. Three-dimensional archival cotton paper specimens, mounted on wall. © ERIKA HARRSCH, all rights reserved 2012
"Flow" is an elaborately conceived three-dimensional wall installation in which banknotes shaped as butterflies circulate in patterns that represent a vital connective system—like
the one uniting Eaton Corporation with its partners and customers worldwide. Specimen-prints of partial images of currency from more than seventy countries, mimic the delicate
beauty of butterflies in migratory flight; reflecting the transformative power of global mobility. It is a beautiful visual metaphor for the logistical and economic mission of Eaton.
Each butterfly-specimen that is included, represents all the countries where Eaton has employees, their size and number being proportional to the number of people employed.
In form and content, Erika Harrsch addresses direct references to cross-cultural values and diversity. Each butterfly stands out for its own individual features, hand-cut, painted
and hand-shaped butterfly is native to the country where the banknote comes from. The butterfly silhouettes enfold the colorful patterns of paper money, a recognizable
transformative energy flowing around the world.
After years of observing Monarch butterflies closely, often photographing and filming them at the sanctuaries in Mexico, the artist has come to be in awe of their migratory flight.
The balanced perfection of the masses of butterflies in flight is fascinating, as is the subtle interplay between light and the butterflies' shifting patterns.
The Monarch butterfly, during its fall migration, navigates over long distances using a time-compensated sun compass. Apparent fragility turns into energy and strength, as the
winged creatures travel three thousand kilometers on their annual route, often taking advantage of wind currents to enable them to glide much of the way.
For that reason, Harrsch based her installation design on real wind vectors, evoking the motion of air masses around the globe. The circular patterns, waves and perspective
lines of the designs represent the release of energy from a hidden source and its distribution through dynamic connective patterns—a constant flow that continues throughout
the whole life cycle.