Now Streaming in Austin: “Bug Filter”: See the world and learn about it through the eyes of insects – Screens

Bug Filter, the online experience created by UT Austin architecture students to explore the world through different, non-human eyes

Welcome to Now Streaming in Austin, which highlights locally-made songs for you to watch during self-quarantine.

For many parents who are currently trying to home-school their kids, screen time seems like a stressful distraction from studying. But not when your young students look at the world through bug filters.

When you look at a bee you know that it sees the world differently than we do. These complex eyes, this difference in size, the clues they catch are beyond our understanding. Bug Filter gives us the opportunity to explore and understand the world from your point of view.

The hour-long video from students at the University of Texas School of Architecture started as a planned installation for the Fusebox Festival last weekend. Working with the UTSOA Materials Lab, students were asked to create filters that would allow viewers to see the world like insects – especially the pollinators in central Texas. They would make casts from hemp concrete, a concrete substitute from the wood core of the hemp plant and a lime-based binder. Some environmentalists see the potential environmental benefits of this material as enormous, as not only does it increase hemp production (which would boost the bee population), but hemp locks out carbon dioxide and could have a positive impact on global climate change.

Unfortunately, the global coronavirus pandemic meant Fusebox had to go online. Fortunately also bug filters.

The installation is now a video, a view (or rather views) of a meadow. It is then seen through each of a series of filters, each breaking down some aspect of what bees see – different parts of the spectrum, polarized light – and how they see it through those compound eyes. Students also explain how they created these filters, which makes this a class not only for entomology and optics, but also for engineering and materials physics. Aside from the well-rounded curriculum that you can work through with your kids, it’s also very, very pretty.

Congratulations to Abigail Kash, Anna Henry, Baxter Estes, Elena Lyra, Elizabeth Cooper, Grace Esslinger, Hannah Harden, Lisa Yang, Marjan Miri, Michelle Huh, Nai’lah Bell, Natalie Avellar, Paola Hernandez, Payton Russell and Taylor Schill. and Assistant Professor Nerea Feliz for this remarkable work, which in this time of lockdown is still finding a way to make it available to the public.

“Bug Filter”

• YouTube (link)

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