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Dutch Boy N-43 Brushed Nickel

Atta sexdens ant tracks in ink on Dutch Boy paint sample, 2.5” x 2.5”, 2010

During a summer residency at the Tiputini Biodiversity Research Station, I offered a Dutch Boy paint sample and nontoxic ink to a colony of leaf cutter ants. (this image). For me, the ants’ gestural traces are curiously resonant with modernist painting, but these culturally specific meanings are lost on the ant authors themselves, as they engage, interpret, and act upon the surface’s materiality with entirely different sensory apparatus, spatio-temporal perspectives, and social frames of reference.
In collaboration with Dr. Peter Wetherwax
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Site document, Day 1

The following year, I blew up the ant-authored “painting”, and returned it to the site. The enlarged print, in four 44”x44” sections, distributed across the original leaf cutter ant colony nest site.
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Site document, detail, Day 1

...leaf cutters venture onto print...
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Site document, Day 2

The leaf cutters have begun to cut the edges of the print...
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Site document, Day 3

...while the stingless bees have taken up a vigil along the edges of the opposing print.
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Site document, Day 4

One mud structure is almost complete...
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Site document, Day 4

...structure 2 is complete and is being used as a nest entrance for the bees’ new nest on the underside of the print.
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Exhibition installation, California State University, Stanislaus. CA

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