CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute brings ‘Project Butterfly’ to Hong Kong

Written by By Emily Ingram, CNN Hong Kong

When Hong Kong resident Raymond King was a teen, he decided to “follow his dream” and become a professional DJ. Over the past three decades, he has built a reputation as one of the city’s best-known names in the industry, and now his vision is on display at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

His long-awaited and now officially grand-opening Project Butterfly — a vast project to grow massive butterfly screens that can be beamed onto almost any wall and ceiling — has had its world premiere, marking the launch of the annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute .

While the nine-month Hong Kong part of the special edition CNN Heroes has spanned from January to March, the Project Butterfly exhibition is on show for the first time in the city after King won a grand-prize call-out from CNN and the Rockefeller Foundation. The exhibition, which also won the “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty” award in 2011, has previously featured in Los Angeles and Sydney.

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The public can vote from March 19, on CNN’s Facebook page for their favorite of the 2017 CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute 9 finalists, to win a top prize of US$1 million. The top 10 will then be put forward to be crowned, as CNN Heroes! On Air, hosted by supermodel Karolina Kurkova and New York’s “Good Morning America” correspondent Michael Strahan, will air live on April 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

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The decision to unveil Project Butterfly as the main art project of CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute last summer, came from King’s and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre’s hopes that it would unite local and international visitors in celebration of the city’s 50th anniversary of democracy.

“To be able to show the world what we’ve achieved and really be able to share the spirit of Hong Kong with others… not only for the people of Hong Kong but for the people who may not be able to see Hong Kong, they may never get the chance,” King says, “but they can still see something beautiful in Hong Kong.”

When Project Butterfly was first unveiled in Los Angeles in September 2015, it was hailed as one of the largest Butterfly screens ever built, measuring more than 2,000 feet across and featuring over 2,000 butterfly inserts.

A range of visuals, including an array of interactive timelines, fireworks, butterflies flying through the water and blurs of color are meant to mimic the natural cycles of the butterfly’s body, while supporters of the exhibition have described it as a “photo pop” display, that aims to explain the butterfly’s otherworldly qualities.

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The live projections are expected to last more than 30 minutes, depending on location, and one projection will use the oldest-known type of video projection technology, chiaroscuro — popularly known as “rose-colored glasses” — where the light within the screen behind the camera is altered.

According to King, Project Butterfly has a double goal: to educate visitors and encourage them to engage with nature, while at the same time, raise money for the non-profit’s environmental projects. One of these projects is the just-launched Beyond the Call of Duty Festival , a concert series in May with partners such as Ubisoft and Synergy Beachclub.

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Asked whether Project Butterfly has other uses, King responded that it’s “always changing. But I’m always considering it and always looking out for the next project that I think is going to make a huge impact.”

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