Feast

living installation, found polystyrene, mealworms, mealworm pupae, darkling beetles, flowers, plastic sheeting, lumber, cast paper, hand-gathered microplastics and macroplastics, egg shells, egg tempera, fruit, led lights, and tinted window film

Growing out of a larger body of work exploring the capacity of nonhuman agents to remediate humanity’s ecological devastation, Feast 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 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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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>.

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>

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. 

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