Oh!m1gas offers us a rather unique opportunity: to not only see, but hear, the inner workings of an ant colony. Ants, and other insects, can create audible vibrations by rubbing together two parts of their body. This process, called stridulation, is similar to dragging a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable, or “scratching” a record. The installation investigates the depth of this comparison, directly aligning the turntable with the ant’s stridulations, both being means of social communication.
The ants are monitored by a video camera, which feeds a custom computer program with the visual data it needs to activate the accompanying turntables. Not only do the ants act as if they were a DJ, the records themselves contain recordings of leaf-cutter ants producing their own stridulations. So, here Kuai Shen amplifies all aspects of the colony’s daily life, and gives his ants the opportunity to be both vocalist, and turntablist in what the artist calls a “cybernetic bio-acoustic space”.
Oh!m1gas will be on view until May 18, 2013 at InterAccess, and is presented in conjunction with the 26th Images Festival.
All photographs by Brenda Liu.