MADAME BUTTERFLY—a highly distorted interpretation of Puccini’s opera by the same name—is a short film revolving around Madame Butterfly, who is living in self-imposed exile inside a magical cocoon on the top of a faraway mountain. The heroic knight who comes to rescue her from her prison finds all to not be as it seems. The climax unfolds. The film is in part a reflection on personal and universal concepts of identity.

The small scale of the projection provides a unique effect, with enhanced detail and brightness that creates an ethereal and glowing image. Presenting the image on a smaller scale will hopefully change the perspective of the viewer from the typical screen viewing experience. Rather than the screen being large enough to encapsulate the viewer’s vision, it is small enough to remain only an object in the greater presentation of the installation.

I don’t believe in the idea of ‘low’, ‘naïve’, or ‘outsider’ art. I don’t like things to be difficult to understand. I like stories and illustrations, so that’s what I made. Stories are very good. It’s my observation that people are, in general, hungry for stories—so much so that they will look for and find stories in things that don’t necessarily have one. It’s possible that the fascination that many people have with identity is another kind of search for a narrative. I am looking for a story too. An image is a type of story, I think. Combinations of drawings and words are my favourite stories. I decided to make one of these and to communicate a story that feels interesting to think about (in my head).

In the film, Mme. Butterfly is also hungry for her own story. In the original concept I had for the film, Butterfly eventually becomes a despotic revolutionary leader, who cruelly executes dissidents. Ruthless autocracy and nationalism are other kinds of stories as well. It’s likely that a good story, which connects with and inspires emotion in other people, must be written with a genuine emotional sentiment behind it. This is the case for my writing, though whether it connects and engages with others is not something I can decide.


Lloyd Collidge