Ants as earth communities – Invertebrate co-conspirators of territorial fidelities
Ants’ social movements materialise relations across species boundaries. Their organised efficiency has turned them into model organisms portraying their environmental participation as a form of eco-engineering. Ants engage in terraforming at a different scale of ecological relationality. They create intimate associations with significant others. Plants, microorganisms, fungi, and insects become their allies and antagonists. Their collective dwelling practises have inspired techno-scientific models that demonstrate the place-making power of invertebrate communities beneath the human.
This workshop, divided into two sessions, introduces tactical experiments using a set of audiovisual mediation and artistic languages that amplify the movements and rhythms of two significant ant species from a perspective that differs from stereotypical aesthetisation practices based on western science. Using an array of algorithms, electromagnetic sensors, lasers, photocells, and contact microphones, ants can be appreciated as creative rebels entangling life-and-death processes, conspiring in fidelity with the Earth. Their rhythmic motions can be valued as invertebrate performances for weaving worlds.
Number of participants: 14–20
Materials: BYO computer
Kuai Shen is a media artist and ant lover from Ecuador. His muse for ants has been driven by the problematisation of scientific and artistic modes of knowledge in the creation of audiovisual installations that amplify the ant world by repurposing a diversity of technologies. The artistic ethos of his practice develops the concept of inverted aesthesis to explore alternative forms of human-ant relationships that contrast to conventional representations of ants within dominant