Pogonomyrmex/Homo 1-4, Phases 2-3 

 

An emergent, feedback-powered interspecies construction: Harvester Ants were placed in a single container made in the fashion of a traditional ant farm-- sand between two panes of glass. As the ants tunneled through the sand, patterns revealed themselves. I set a simple rule for co-laboring to create the constructions: ant observation -> translation from ant scale to human scale/from ant materials to human materials -> construction via mimicry of their patterns, movements and pace. Example: as ant tunnels met the walls of the containers, I drilled into that point and attached vinyl tubing, replacing their boundary with a new pathway. As the interspecies creation continued, stages of progression became clear: 

 

Stage 1. Vinyl tubes crossed through the airspace of the room. As the density of the ant tubes increased (as the ant tunnels increased), human accessibility decreased. 

 

Stage 2. A building inspection introduced the fire marshal into the feedback loop. The inspector insisted that I remove the project to restore access to the valves on the far wall. To comply I built a bridge around the preexisting ant tubes to allow humans to access the space.

 

Stage 3. Upon a follow-up inspection, the fire marshal deemed the bridge unsatisfactory: the path was too narrow and stairs were not allowed. In response I removed the bridge and built a low platform, setting the tubes into grooves carved into the platform. 

 

Stage 4. As ant boundaries shifted, human boundaries followed. The ant tubing was brought up through the ceiling space and dropped down into adjacent rooms. 

 

Stage 5. As the ants died off, the tunnel patterns were recorded by a plaster-casting process. The plaster pours inverted the pathways, which are then repurposed as templates for future systems. 

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