Material 1: Expandable foam, used as bedding for beetles to burrow into during their pupa stage. Was used to facilitate this infestation.
Material 2: Band-aids, used as a part of painting involved in the wall
Artist: Jean Shin, an instillation artist.
My subject was infestation, so my idea was to create an instillation that featured a literal infestation, in this controlled environment. My focus was insects, specifically maggots and dermestid beetles (which are living inside the aquarium) because of their habits of infesting and consuming living or dead humans and animals. I also chose to present information about ways in which these insect colonies and their tendencies to rapidly multiply and consume are useful and can be harnessed for medical, scientific, and forensic purposes, and also the more unpleasant ways in which these colonies can invade a live person.
The images on the right show how this piece would be installed in a gallery setting.
Intelligence: This project was more conceptual than my paintings or drawings, and is definitely different than what I usually do. I don't know, however, if my piece communicates an actual cohesive message. It could have been thought through more thoroughly, especially in the way that I imitated the provided artist, because the connection to her work is very unclear and doesn't go beyond the fact that she's an instillation artist.
Investment: I spent time painting and drawing the 2-D elements that make up this piece, as well as caring for the beetles and bleaching the bones they cleaned for me. My work ethic was consistent with past projects.
Difficulty: I was unsure whether or not this constituted an actual art project, and was very uneasy that it was so different than technique-based work, which I prefer to do. The subject matter of infestation was interesting to me, and will probably be involved in my future pieces. I don't really plan on doing something this instillation based in the future, though. It's not as satisfying as making a painting.
I learned a lot from this project, but in a more scientific sense than artistic. I researched medical cases of myiasis and maggot therapy, dissected mice, and watched the life cycle of the dermestid from larvae to beetles.