Ants fascinate humans with their strength, their adaptability and their astonishing ability to work together to achieve goals. Artist Loren Kronemyer enlisted large groups of them to create her 2012 project, Myriad.
Kronemyer draws on paper with pheromones, then releases ants onto the paper. The ants, drawn to the scent, briefly cooperate in completing her designs before going back to their own patterns of movement. The artist explains that her projects explore “the notion of living drawing” as a collaboration showing the interplay of insect and human intelligence. Kronemyer, who has also created drawings with living tissues, says:
“The ant colony is a superorganism, a system with its own intelligence made up of many individuals, and the tissue is a fragment of an individual that is itself made up of many discreet living entities. I sit somewhere in the middle, meddling with both yet at the same time responsible for caring for them and keeping them alive.” (source)
The various works in Myriad are full of life and movement. The image of the brain, in particular, works as a great visual metaphor for a short attention span, or perhaps a sudden realization. Kronemyer, an American who moved to Australia to work with SymbioticA Lab, says that “at a certain point I stopped being interested in just representing living systems, and wanted to work with the systems themselves.” It’s a long way from paint and marble, yet the visual delight of her work keeps it from simply becoming a science-fair project and plants it firmly in the territory of art.
You can see more of Loren Kronemyer’s work at her website.