consume repeat #2

Nicole Rayburn, consume repeat #2, 1:18, 2016

This series of short videos explores the notion of repetition through the isolation of animal interactions with their environments, specifically involving activities surrounding consumption.

In consume repeat #2, the subtle violence of the exchange between the Monarch Butterflies is contrasted with the slightly humorous frailty of their bodies. Organic gestures are mechanized through the editing process, and the movements speak to habit, compulsion, obsession, and absurdity.

monarchs 3

The metaphor of the butterfly effect – the notion that the minuscule flapping of the wings of a butterfly can dramatically affect the outcome of events in a larger system, such as weather – emphasizes the inter-connectivity of all entities and actions. When seen through the lens of isolated exchanges between insect bodies, this reveals the potential impacts of small violences, and the larger effects they can have. The piece seeks to reflect on what the flap of a wing might mean through repetition, as a flap is never in isolation. Although there is repetition, duration and accumulation deny repeat experiences, and through this repetition emerges the possibility for reinvention (Deleuze).

monarchs 2

The videos are also a reflection of our own oftentimes-obsessive relationship with consumption. The series deals explicitly with the notion of eating and attempts to acknowledge the frantic nature around actual survival, and ideally to draw a connection back to ourselves in this sense, but the hyper-stylization and the word ‘consume’ allows more metaphoric associations with ideas around consumption, particularly in our culture of excess and abundance, and the obsessive yet unfulfilling ways in which this is often engaged with.

This forced intervention of the mechanization of the organic body highlights the human presence, albeit unseen, yet emphasizes inter-connectivity and impact that even the tiniest gesture can have in affecting relations.


Audio samples by Headphaze (


2017 Antimatter [Media Art], Victoria, Canada

2016 Binnar Visual Arts Festival, Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal

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Nicole Rayburn 2017