Insect decline /

Climate chaos

"Insects are nature's little cogs that make the world go round"

Extraordinary Insects: Weird. Wonderful. Indispensable. The ones who run our world., Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

Harper Collins Publishers, 2019

I am currently researching insect decline in the context of climate chaos, supported by Chrysalis Arts' Greening Arts Practice Mentoring Programme and Arts Council England Emergency Response Fund, exploring new sculptural work whilst developing relationships with entomologists at The Natural History Museum, London and York University, to further my understanding of the situation.

During my studies I noticed the wonderful similarities between bottle forms and insect morphology. The abdomen, thorax and head of an insect mirroring the body, neck and stopper of a bottle.

 

The symbolism surrounding a bottle sits alongside the issue of insect decline:

 

  • It signifies purpose- there are millions of insect species fundamental to the global ecosystem.

  • Connotations of pharmaceutical use- cures/remedies.

  • Manmade object- ever growing consumerism plays significant role in insect decline.

  • Vessel- I am using art as a carrier for scientific research.

 

Whilst exploring this in my studio over Lockdown, I made the conscious decision to use single use plastic bottles as the starting form for my pieces. The definition of the Anthropocene era is still being debated, as there must be evidence of the human race laid down in the geological record. However, it is strongly believed that this will be defined by the presence of microplastics, already abundant in many of earth’s natural systems.

I sketched a number of designs using iconic plastic bottles as the starting point however, I was particularly taken by an antibacterial handwash bottle (Carex). The form lends itself to arthropod morphology and I particularly love the dispenser which reads so well as a tail or antennae.

There is also reference to the current global pandemic and consequent millions of single use anti-bacterial plastic bottles that have been added to the plastics problem.

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© 2020 Anna Whitehouse