A pair of Parisian designers has one-upped Brandon Ballengée’s Love Motel for Insects (featured here last year) by building snazzy condos for some lucky French bugs. The Insectopia installation, by Quentin Vaulot and Goliath Dyèvre, consists of tightly-packed wooden “houses” for insects, mounted on poles in parks in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. From a distance, they resemble trees; closer up, they look a bit like Laputa, the flying island from Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky. Vaulot and Dyèvre say that their intention was both to foster urban biodiversity and to “provoke an emotion” in people who interact with the art, by drawing attention to a world that is largely invisible but in constant motion. No word yet on which lucky insects have moved into Insectopia, or if the quiet, hardworking ants are complaining about the noisy cicadas upstairs. If any of our readers are in Paris, please go look and report back with photos.
Bugs crawling up the walls are the stuff of nightmares for many, but they become stunning art in the hands of Jennifer Angus. A professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Angus has for years used real, dead insects as her primary artistic medium. Her compositions, which are usually pinned to gallery walls, often refer to Victorian decorative motifs, which in turn recall the insect-collecting habits of 19th century naturalists.
Like them, she gathers her insects from around the world, particularly Thailand and Malaysia. While she notes that none of the insects she uses in her work are endangered species, she hopes that her art will spur an interest in both entomology and rainforest preservation in her audience. The eye-popping colors of her artwork are all natural, she says – she does not enhance the insects with paints or dyes. Angus’ work is on exhibit at the Jack Olson Gallery at Northern Illinois University through February 28, and you can see more on her website.