Friday, July 17, 2009

Maggots in Underpants: Do Not Want.

Last night at Art in General I participated in a panel discussion with curator Nina Horisaki-Christens and ecologist Amy Berkov, who studies wood-boring beetles and teaches at CUNY. Nina led a really great discussion that got into the nitty-gritty of my artwork, Amy's research, and the overlaps in our practices.

Amy was incredibly warm and energetic, and it was so much fun having a conversation with someone so knowledgable and enthusiastic about insects. She told wonderful stories about her adventures collecting beetles in South America, and about her insect observations in the community garden that she runs here in the city. I found her utterly inspiring, and hope to visit her lab at CUNY at some point. Amy also has a background in printmaking and graphic design, which is quite interesting.

On Amy's laboratory website, you can find a lot of information about her fascinating research. She has also written a list of Ten Tips for Surviving the Rainy Season in the Tropical Rainforest. This amusing and alarming list suggests 10 important items to bring along to the rainforest, and includes one entry that made my skin crawl:
6. Underwear, Brightly Colored: On several occasions I picked up my dirty clothes to scrub them in the stream and found the underwear infested with minute fly larvae. Picking them out was a long and unsavory task, but I was certainly glad that I had black underwear, so at least I could SEE all those tiny maggots. I subsequently read that some flies are attracted to black... so in this tip, I’m going to hedge my bets and suggest brightly colored underwear.
Holy crap.

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