António Caramelo, Dreaming of a Butterfly, 2011. Bishop's Square, Spitalfields, London.

The European Public Art Centre - EPAC

EPAC is a collaborative engagement between organisations across Europe focusing on intersections between art, science and society. It consists of eight outdoor exhibition spaces established in participating countries that include Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Poland, UK and Iceland to establish the first ever Europe-wide contemporary art venue.

Now in its second phase of the EPAC programme, artworks rotate between participating countries. In London, the Portuguese artist António Caramelo will present his artwork DREAMING OF A BUTTERFLY. By interactively utilising surrounding sound, the work produces an illusion of living butterflies inside the box.

Caramelo's exhibition follows on from award-winning UK artist Anne Brodie's BEE BOX currently on show in Lasipalatsi Square, Helsinki, Finland.

This public art exhibition is curated by C-LAB.

Supported by:

EU Culture ProgrammeEU culture logoc-lab logoectopiaEPAC logoSpitalfields logo

António Caramelo

He was awarded a Masters in digital arts at Media Centre of Art and Design, Barcelona, 2005/2006.

Since 2001, he has been teaching Media Arts in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Évora, Portugal.

As a practising artist he has collaborated on several projects in different areas such as sound, dance and theatre, working with real-time audiovisual systems and actively participates in art exhibitions since 1997, mostly in Portugal, but also in Spain, Scotland, USA, Germany, Norway and Finland.


45 acrylic tubes are arranged within the display box. Each tube has a "mechanical" butterfly placed within and their movements are synchronised with the sound system - where microphones obtain real time sound of the surrounding area, and amplify the sounds to the internal subwoofers speakers to produce the necessary input to cause the aleatory movements of the butterflies. As the sound captured reach higher volume, the movement of the butterflies increase.

Each butterfly is attached inside to the acrylic tube by a filament that runs to the battery housing. There is a certain amount of realness to it, while it is understated up close (people can see the filament when the butterfly is at a standstill - or the sound volume is low), but from farther away the fleeting butterfly appears to be real and trying to find its escape!

The butterflies are in some way interactive by reacting to the incoming sound, convincing illusion of a very natural butterfly through animatronic technology. The "Dreaming of a Butterfly" inside the acrylic tube flutters and flies around the inside of the tube with true-to-life motion, giving the impression of a real butterfly, so this creates a movement within the tube that appears to be truly random. The users may also interact with the butterfly to flap or flutter its wings on command by producing incoming sound from surrounding area.

António Caramelo, 2011