The Phenological Clock

Tue, 28/04/2015 - 10:26
Victoria & Albert Museum

The Phenological Clock

………… from the Orange Tip Butterfly to the Hairy Footed Flower Bee!

Natalie Jeremijenko, artist, engineer and ecologist, bridges the technical and art worlds to provide creative health solutions for the environment and create socially conscious experiences for direct and indirect change, through her Enviromental Health Clinic (X or Experimental Design). Jeremijenko has created three related pieces under the title 'Re Public of Air' for the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) current exhibition, 'All this belongs to you' (1 April-19 July), connecting the Museum to the wider ecology of the city. The Phenological Clock stands at the grand entrance and displays 12 months in the life-cycle of the flowering plants and pollinating insects that surround the V&A from 14 years of the Woodland Trust data researched by River of Flowers..

A Phenological Clock has a January through to December clock face showing the months when local organisms bud, burst into leaf, bloom, set seed, produce fruit, hatch, emerge or migrate. These seasonal events are arranged in concentric, coloured annual circles, one for each species. Whenever a flowering perennial plant buds, leafs out and flowers, all these events appear in the same circle.

The soil organisms and perennial flowering plants lie in the innermost circles; the insects, including the pollinators, are placed in the next surrounding set of circles; the birds, often dependent on insects to feed their young during springtime and on oil rich seeds to help them through the winter, are next. Trees, which are not a single habitat but dozens inhabited by thousands of different species, lie in the outmost annual rings. Phenology is our most sensitive indicator of climate destabilisation showing when these interdependencies start to trail out of kilter with plants flowering too late to feed pollinators or pollinators emerging too early to find forage.

Jeremijenko's second installation is a Butterfly Banner of Ag Bags spread out on the low walls at the front of the museum. It introduces images of pollinators such as the Orange Tip Butterfly and delightfully named Hairy-footed Flower Bee, a solitary bee, and living floral forage to the ancient stone architecture.

The final piece is a MothxCinema to be revealed on a special Friday night screening. For our delight and enlightenment, the MothXCinema will light up to capture on a silver screen the nightly romances of the moths as they dance around and forage from a scented garden of mothly delights.