Six gigantic butterflies have landed on the surface of the landscape, their wings glowingblue against the dark night. At first sight, the artwork seems to portray a peaceful, almost magical scene. But with his artwork Butterfly Effect, Masamichi Shimada attempts to portray how something as delicate as a butterfly can possess such immense power.
The title of the artwork refers to American scientist and meteorologist Edward Lorenz’s (1917-2008) 1961 lecture titled, ‘Predictability, does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?’. Lorenz researched how a seemingly insignificant action, such as a butterfly flapping its wings, can activate a chain of events that can result in much bigger changes, such as the emergence of a destructive tornado in Texas. Lorenz’s butterfly effect is a metaphor; although not scientifically possible, it demonstrates how daily life, the weather, or the stock exchange have a certain degree of unpredictability, and that chaos or crisis is always just around the corner.
Butterfly Effect, much like the rest of Masamichi’s oeuvre, has a positive outlook on the world. The artist emphasizes that even though problems and challenges are seemingly big, a small act of just one person can make all the difference.