Find your love of butterflies at Finding Flowers’ listening session

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly

The Finding Flowers project at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) is inviting students, faculty and members of the community to winter listening session on Jan. 30 as part of their seasonal event programming.

The free, intimate three-hour event is being hosted in conjunction with FES’ Art in Action course in HNES 201 and will feature a listening of Soundtrack for the Radical Love of Butterflies by  T’uy’t’tanat- Cease Wyss and Anne Riley. Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy plant-based pollinated foods and native pollinator-seeds while engaging in active listening as a form of research. Finding Flowers’ Assistant Professors Sheila Colla and Lisa Myers (who teaches Art in Action) along with research associate and project coordinator Dana Prieto and Art in Action students, will facilitate the session.

Soundtrack for the Radical Love of Butterflies - Photo by Jessica Wittman
Soundtrack for the Radical Love of Butterflies – Photo by Jessica Wittman

Soundtrack for the Radical Love of Butterflies spurs sounds, songs and conversations on what the artists call “Butterfly Medicine” and was originally released inside Mike MacDonald’s Butterfly Garden at the Banff Centre for the Arts. MacDonald, a late Indigenous multimedia artist and “creative gardener” known for the butterfly gardens he created across Canada, is a major inspiration and influence for the Finding Flowers’ project.

Although the Banff garden where Soundtrack for the Radical Love of Butterflies was released on cassette tape is the last remaining garden operating as a Mike MacDonald garden, and that MacDonald’s work has been scarcely documented in the study of both art and plant life, this soundwork builds upon MacDonald’s own interest in sound as well as the intersections of science, traditional Indigenous medicine and biology. In addition to music and soundscapes, each track consists of interviews and songs with Indigenous women and two-spirits who have started social justice groups and whose work re-mediates the various systems they work in.

The Finding Flowers project focuses on pollinator conservation through ecology, art and pedagogy and aims to take a bio-cultural and interdisciplinary approach to investigate plant-pollinator biodiversity in Canada, while also expanding Indigenous art history and curatorial practices.

The project’s spring event programming will involve a hands-on exploration of the upcoming growing season, with plans for workshops involving native plant food and medicine, conservation and seedling-handling. A full calendar of upcoming FES events can be found on the faculty’s website.