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  • Dipped in iridescence

    31st December, 2014

    We holidayed in Adelaide this week, and enjoyed the glittering gems at Australian Minerals (Hahndorf) and the collection of twinkling treasures in South Australian Museum’s Iridescence exhibition. I could happily spend all day looking at the luminous stones, butterflies, shells and birds – but I do feel conflicted about looking at stuffed creatures. I thought about the museum context of mounted insects and how they would have informed Hirst’s capture of the seductive colours of butterflies in an exhibition I saw a few years ago.

    Minerals at Australian Minerals, Hahndorf, South Australia

    Australian Minerals

    As a child, I was enraptured to learn that the word “iridescence” could describe the elusive shine on bubbles and the flickering colours in oil spills on the road. I had only noticed oil colours after reading a version of The Colony of Cats, where a girl asked to be dipped in oil (rather than gold) in the hope of capturing a rainbow in her pocket. Similarly I was recently delighted to learn the word “petrichor”, even though a word can only hint at the corners of capturing an experience.

    Butterflies at Iridescence, South Australian Museum

    Iridescent butterflies

    Today I had my first acupuncture session, and I was saddened for the butterflies pinned to their boards. I hope they get to fly around the exhibition at night-time, feeding on iridescence to top up their own meters.

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