A Consilience

Two men dressed in opulent insect costumes as butterfly and beetle Professor Richard Vane-Wright and Jan Fabre,
Jan Fabre, A Consilience, 2000, Artists In Costume

Film installation by Jan Fabre at The Natural History Museum

Filmed in the Natural History Museum's vast scientific collections and shown as a two-screen installation in the main hall, this film by Jan Fabre makes the viewer privy to an extraordinary meeting between individuals obsessed with the nature of insect civilisation.

Transformed by fabulous sculpture-costumes to represent the insects they study, the scientists encounter Jan Fabre, ambassador of the beetle world.

Greatly influenced by his great-grandfather Jean-Henri Fabre, a famous 19th century naturalist, the beetle is a recurring theme in Fabre's drawings and theatre pieces: "I want to explore new interpretations for art and science with this piece, where the borders of these two disciplines touch each other. I've been enormously inspired by insects, particularly the Scarab beetle. In Flemish classical art they represent the passage of new life. I wanted to learn from the entomologists - perhaps change the way they look at things. The costumes act as a mask, changing the way they speak, move and behave. Consilience is literally a 'jumping together' of knowledge and facts across disciplines to create a common groundwork of explanation, as reflected in my approach to the Museum and its science".

Appearing in "A Consilience":

Jan Fabre (beetle)
Professor Vane-Wright, Head of Entomology (butterfly)
Dr Rory Post, Deputy Head of Entomology (fly)
Dr Ian Gauld (parasitic wasp)
Dr Martin Brendell (beetle)
Dr Martin Hall (fly)