Limacina Helicina Antarctica - The Butterfly Effect (2017)

Researchers: Dr Debbie Symons

AEGIS UN Sustainable Development Goals 11, 14, & 13

Debbie Symons’ work Limacina Helicina Antarctica – The butterfly effect explores the effects of the changing ocean chemistry on one of the Earth's tiny but vitally important molluscs species, the Limacina helicina Antarctica, or the sea butterfly, as it is more commonly known. This beautiful miniature species is at the bottom of the oceanic food chain and will continue to be affected by the changing pH levels of the Earth’s oceans and its follow-on effect of the dissolution of calcium carbonate.

The butterfly effect examines the inextricable links between environmental degradation and free-market capitalism. With humankind continuing to pump ever more CO2 into the atmosphere, these tiny creatures that support our society and other species are exhibiting signs of the strain imposed upon them. With contemporary scientific research documenting sea butterflies' shells cracking and disintegrating due to the changing oceanic chemistry. The butterfly effect implores the viewer to look upon the critical situation transpiring within one of the Earth’s remaining ‘wild’ spaces, the Antarctic, with renewed impetus by reflecting the dire situation materialising.

Exhibition history for Limacina Helicina Antarctica – The butterfly effect:
  • Ocean Imaginaries, RMIT Gallery, City campus, Swanston Street, Melbourne. Part of CLIMARTE’s Art+Climate=Change, 2017 Festival
  • Fossil – a slow-acting violence, 2017. Stephen McLauglanGallery, Melbourne
  • Finalist, Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, Gordon, NSW
  • ZAZ10TS, Times Square, Gallery and Urban Screen, New York, USA

Acknowledgement of Country

AEGIS acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we work. We respectfully acknowledge their Elders, past and present. We also acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waters across Australia and its Dreaming.