Feast and Famine

Feast and Famine virtual installation | Hatak, North Willows Artist Run Space (2021)

Growing out of a larger body of work exploring the capacity of nonhuman agents to remediate humanity’s ecological devastation, Feast and Famine focuses on the transformative and poetic power of the lowly mealworm as it consumes, metabolizes, and biodegrades styrofoam waste. 
Part living art installation, part posthuman catacomb, part abject tableaux, and part durational interspecies performance, Feast and Famine is an effort to “stay with the trouble” and think beyond human-centric norms about what is precious, what is beautiful, and what is possible.
Experimental, metamorphosing, and relational, Feast and Famine takes different forms depending on its time and place, incorporating video, sound, material, site, both human and nonhuman participants into an queer ecology of grief, reverence, dissolution and becoming.


Feast and Famine at Cerritos College, Norwalk, CA (2022)(living ecosystem of metamorphosing mealworms, polystyrene, and cacti with resonating interspecies sound projection, mealworm-friendly, chromatic light and projected video)

Feast and Famine, Ebb & Flow Festival, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Culver City, CA (2022)(interspecies sound, movement, and material performance with human performers Eden Knutilla and Andrea Nhuch)

Feast and Famine at SoundPedro, Angels Gate Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA (2022)(resonating polystyrene and lumber structure with mealworm-friendly, chromatic light partially enclosing a living installation of mealworms, polystyrene, and wildflowers, with projected video)

Becoming Relics at Nikki at Mehle Gallery, New Orleans, LA (2022)(series of 13 sound-based, partially consumed polystyrene, wax, and copper wall sculptures)

Gravitational Pull at Connectivity, Werby Gallery, Cal State Long Beach, Long Beach, CA (2022) (partially consumed styrofoam, waste plastic, and contaminated earth assemblage)

Feast and Famine at Hatak by North Willows artist-run space, Montclair, NJ (2021)(virtual living installation with mealworm-friendly chromatic light)

Feast and Famine at NOMAD by Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2021)(living installation with mixed styrofoam, waste plastic, and earth assemblage)

Feast and Famine at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, D (2021)(living installation with cast chromatic light, found polystyrene, mealworms, mealworm pupae, darkling beetles, wild and waste flowers and vegetables, fallen fruit, egg tempera and egg shells, mealworm frass, plastic sheeting, and lumber)

Bibliography (in progress)

American Chemical Society. “Superworms digest plastic, with help from their bacterial sidekicks.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200527105055.htm>.

Bennett, Jane. Vibrant Matter : a Political Ecology of Things. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.

Braidotti, Rosi, Metamorphosis: Towards a Materialist Theory of Becoming. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002.

Douglas, Mary. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. New York: Praeger, 1966.

Ghosh, Amitav. The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable. University of Chicago Press, 2017.

Haraway, Donna J. Staying with the Trouble, Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016.

Glissant, Edouard. “For Opacity,” in Poetics of Relation. University of Michigan Press, 1997.

Kosofsky Sedgwick, Eve. “Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading, or, You’re So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay Is About You,” in Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.

Lorde, Audre. “Poetry is not a Luxury” in Sister Outsider. Crossing Press, 1984.

Moore, Jr., Barrington. Moral Purity and Persecution in History. Princeton University Press, 2000.

Morton, Timothy. All Art is Ecological. Penguin Books, 2021.

Munoz, Jose Esteban. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. NYU Press, 2019.

Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH). “A new species of darkling beetle larvae that degrade plastic.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 July 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200720102054.htm>.

Rebentisch, Juliane. Camp Materialism. Gallerie Buchholz, 2020.

Smithson, Robert. “A Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects.” Artforum, vol. 7. no. 1 (September 1968).

Tracy K. Smith. “My God, It’s Full of Stars” from Life on Mars. Graywolf Press, 2011.

Stanford University. “Mealworms safely consume toxic additive-containing plastic.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191219101702.htm>

Verma, Prashna. “This Styrofoam-eating ‘superworm’ could help solve the garbage crisis – Scientists across the world are trying to find bacteria and bugs that consume trash. A plastic-consuming worm is the latest.” Washington Post, 17 June 2022. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/06/17/plastic-eating-superworm-garbage-crisis/

Yang, Yu & Yang, Jun & Wu, Weimin & Zhao, Jiao & Song, Yiling & Gao, Longcheng & Yang, Ruifu & Jiang, Lei. (2015). Biodegradation and Mineralization of Polystyrene by Plastic-Eating Mealworms: Part 1. Chemical and Physical Characterization and Isotopic Tests. Environmental science & technology. 49. 10.1021/acs.est.5b02661.

Yusoff, Kathryn. A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None. University of Minnesota Press, 2018. 

Hunger (2021)(featuring imagery and sound from various metamorphosing insects, bodies of water, and plastics)

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