I have been invited to participate in a group exhibition at the Schering Foundation in Berlin that will take place during Transmediale. I have been asked to incorporate systematized live insects into an installation that can potentially (strategically) leave their containment and enter another artists’s piece to interact with their work/potentially eat plastic.
I now have a new challenge of figuring out how to gather insects in Germany, a task which I am incredibly thankful to have Cara’s input towards.
As we continue to discuss what our physical collaborative piece will look like together I found myself looking through different types of insects that can be purchased online.
An important part of my practices and pieces that involve living insects is the availability of ordering many types of life through the internet and having it delivered to your door. The accessibility and permeability of the internet world allows for these types of processes to become arguably commonplace.
I have also been looking into insects that consume plastic this week and reading through the following and speculating whether or not one might be able to apply these insects to PLA (“a biodegradable and bioactive thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch (in the United States and Canada)- wikipedia”. PLA is a common plastic used in the desktop 3D printing process:
What a crazy (completely overcommitted) week indeed!! (Capped off with an all-nighter of my little guy having the throw-ups last night - every half hour like clockwork.)
I’ve been thinking about Brittany’s model tipped on its side and elongated with an entire image on one surface.
I am drawn to how light and shadow create various layers of appreciating the same fundamental information, but distorted somewhat, giving a nod to how our perceptions come through the filters of our past experiences.
See the address numbering ‘3929’ on the outside glass? Although fine for the intended viewer, it appears backwards from our vantage point. Inside, where we stand, its completely legible at three different scales in the shadows on the wall.
I’ve been thinking about what we will produce and how it could be presented and consumed and why we should select any of the various methods. The idea of the final structure helping to slow the viewer’s consumption is appealing, somehow giving the viewer more time for an uncomfortable message -- as anything with insects is wont to be. But what should our message be? Do we select something generally difficult for most people? (Decomposition.) Or something easier, exploiting current popular momentum? (Pollination.) I’m hoping Brittany has a strong preference because I could make a case for anything.
Although insects can pester us daily, biting us, our pets, and livestock and transmitting disease; and they can be devastating agricultural or structural pests, on balance they are fundamental for so many services: Pollination (1 in 3 bites of your food is brought to you by pollinators), natural pest controllers, as food for other animals (e.g. many fish, small mammals, and birds rely on them), and as decomposers (note that this is the same as being horrible structural pests in cases, just in different contexts – cellulose in nature vs. your home).
Here is a lovely short (1’35”) video from the Royal Entomological Society about why insects are important. ‘Poo’ definitely sounds more authoritative with a British accent - check it out:
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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.