As Cara mentioned I have been moderately away from our blogging to complete a large installation project utilizing ants in a new sculptural project titled Primitive Borders, 2017. I was invited to participate in the 30th year of Transmediale in Berlin. The exhibition I am in is a 5 person show that is part of the 3D Additivist Cookbook.
Primitive Borders is a speculative and experimental installation using ant gel originally developed by students to test the effect of zero gravity on ants. In a longer line of artists using ants and ant farms as a metaphorical material, I've been working on a series of projects over the last 7 years that are about the human race being the most expansive pest on the planet. This new work is a smaller prototype that investigates the potential processes of a society adapting to futuristic materials and a forced living structure. The ants exist within 5 structures that are created using primitive forms through digital fabrication techniques. A geometric primitive is a simple form that is a prepackaged building block within 3D modeling software. The ants can freely travel from one primitive cluster to another, crossing borders to possibly create alliances or enemies, with many perishing in the process over time. As I watch them travel from one form to another, some blockaded, abandoning some lands all together, grouping together in new places, sometimes seeking escapes, I can't help but not ascribe it to our current political climate.
Here is a link to the description of our show On the Far Side of the Marshlands, which is about borders radical boarders and typographies:
What excites me most about all of this as it has brought so many new ideas to mind and I am excited to finally get to work with Cara on building our project together once I am back and have wrapped up this piece- it has been an interesting learning experience building a system around the architecture of a building.
Brittany and I have leaned toward decomposers for the insect inhabitants of our final piece. We’ve also talked a lot about audience interaction and perception of the piece.
Brittany has been interested in the idea of vacuum-created masks that visitors can put their faces in. With all of these things in mind I created this portrait of myself with some Panchlora nivea (the green banana roach) inhabiting a “mask” against a larger backdrop of the roaches doing their thing. Brave visitors could then take snapshots of themselves like at a theme park ride.
I think its fascinating that we have converged on this bright green organically, given this:
And finally, to increase popularity for our piece perhaps #SaltBae could sprinkle in the roaches at the opening in New York? ;)
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Brittany Ransom is an award-winning artist, technologist, and assistant professor of Sculpture and New Genres at California State University, Long Beach.
Cara Gibson is a graphic designer, director of Science Communications, and Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson.