Mothmotion, Karlsruhe

  • task:
  • reconfiguration of the underpass Schwarzwaldstraße in Karlsruhe
  • client:
  • City of Karlsruhe, civil engineering department
  • procedure type:
  • competition 2005, invite, 1st Prize
  • size:
  • 162 sqm backlit display
  • completion:
  • 2009
  • artist:
  • Andrea v. Lüdinghausen, Hannover
  • technical planner:
  • LDE Belzner Holmes (lighting consultation) | Dr. Kreutz und Partner (structural engineering consultation) |
  • implementation planning:
  • Bayer Glasbau, Berlin
  • team:
  • Uta Varrentrapp
  • photos:
  • Jörg Hempel, Aachen
  • The Schwarzwaldstraße-underpass near the central station provides entrance to the city for pedestrians and vehicle traffic. The art installation, “Moth Motion”, represents the “change of location over time”, and the perspective changes as one passes through the underpass.

    Andrea v. Lüdinghausen and netzwerkarchitekten used “anamorphosis”, a perspective known since the Renaissance. This art form incorporates a distorted projection or drawing that appears complete and normal only when viewed from a particular point. Therefore, the moths seem to move and change, appearing and disappearing as one moves through. Only from certain angles can a whole panorama be perceived.

    Forty-one large, back-lit glass panels were installed in front of 60m of raw concrete wall. Images are printed onto the glass, with depictions varying from slightly stretched to extremely distorted, to facilitate the experience of change. The images will appear differently, depending on direction and speed of travel.

    “Moth Motion” shows, in exaggerated size, the hawk-moth from the family of butterflies – a delicate creature of the air, which for the moment reminds one of fossil worlds and the deep sea. The model used by the artist is a hummingbird hawk-moth, whose extremely fast wingstroke enables it to change its direction of flight upward, downward, sideward, backward and forward in split seconds. In the tunnel, isolated specimens of the hawk-moth glide past the observer. The two largest among them look as if their paths could cross.

    “Moth Motion” is mediated only by what is directly connected with the function and the “essence” of the underpass: the movement through it, in one direction or the other. Persistence makes the images no longer recognizable.

    (Angela Lautenbach, September 2008)