Christoph Dichmann’s project ‘The Butterfly Bridge’ connects the physical and the digital beyond the typical expression of Augmented Reality seeking to create real life impact. Questioning how technologies could aide in realising more-than-human urban biodiversity planning the first thoughts were directed towards machine learning non-human bias.
According to the latest ‘Global Biodiversity outlook’ published by the UN in 2020 “Biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate”, stating that there is only a “short window available to make the collective vision of living in harmony with nature a reality.” On top of that cities are often set up in places that naturally would promote great biodiversity due proximity to water, nutritious soil and resources. Speaking to Biodiversity experts, one key realisation was about the necessity of plants to function as architecture and food for insects.
When taking on the insect perspective, especially butterflies are remarkable indicators for the ecosystem. Due to their fragile nature, environmental changes have enormous impact on butterflies and on top of that each butterfly species is very host plant specific. In return one could say a missing butterfly species points towards a missing ecological niche. The Butterfly Bridge focusses on the 26 Butterflies on the UK red list, of which each has different ecological requirements.
They become levels of an augmented reality videogame, inviting the gamer to recognise the specificness of biodiversity management beyond the typical flower meadow.