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Colony and Its Discontents

Rockite, Acrylic, Sponges, Water, Sugar, Carpenter Ants, Harvester Ants. 2020

A test of what it means to create for another species and what the effort reveals about ourselves: many comparisons in communication, cooperation, and organization have been made between ant colonies and human civilizations. And much like humans, ant colonies upon interaction have a variety of tactical responses. 

This particular farm draws upon Michel Foucault's studies of surveillance architecture and Sigmund Freud's work, "Civilization and Its Discontents." 

The structure divides Harvester ants and Carpenter ants by species into opposite domains. One side has a resource monopoly on water and the other food. Access to the other resource for both sides is dependent on two routes. Route A allows for direct and safe travel into the other colony's resource domain while retaining isolation. Route B leads to another resource domain but requires entering open foreign territory, guaranteeing contact with the second group.  Conflict can result in the death of an entire colony or its domination as resourced labor. Having the same set of options, the foreign colonies can decisively choose which route benefits them most- coexistence or conflict.

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© 2021 Sabrina Haertig