Spectacle Butterfly is a site-responsive artwork at the Nashville International Airport created for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. From a distance, visitors will notice a giant monarch butterfly, wings spread open, welcoming the public under its colorful reflection. Upon closer inspection, visitors will notice that the butterfly is created from approximately 500 pairs of orange and black sunglasses. Depending on the time of day, light from the skylight will shine through the sunglasses lenses and scatter shimmering color reflections on the walls and floor of the airport.
The monarch butterfly is one of the only species that travel up to three thousand miles a year (some visiting Great Stage Park, TN on their journey). As described by National Geographic, “Only monarchs born in late summer or early fall make the migration, and they make only one round trip. By the time next year's winter migration begins, several summer generations will have lived and died and it will be last year's migrators' great grandchildren that make the trip. Yet somehow these new generations know the way, and follow the same routes their ancestors took—sometimes even returning to the same tree.” Much like the monarch butterfly, every year a community of Bonnaroovians travel long distances to return to the Roo. The community separates and spreads around the world, but gathers in search of music, comradery, love, creativity, and art. Inspired by precious generations, each year new visitors are drawn to the festival, much like the generations of monarchs that follow in a path set by generations past. The sunglasses add a playful nod to Bonnaroo’s casual vibe, and reference Bonnaroovian celebrations of collaboration, unity, and also difference.