Leafcutter Ant Drawing
Part of book or chapter of book
- Publisher: CCW Graduate School
This project questions the inherent creativity and adaptability of living organisms in previously unencountered situations. The project documents the adaptiveness of a species of leafcutter ants (Atta cephalotes) when the ants’ normal activity is interrupted by a line of carbon. Produced in the rainforest, where climate change is already recorded, the questioning has implications for all species, including our own., The drawings were made during a Cape Farewell funded expedition to the Peruvian Amazon. Using local materials – carbon from a burning candle, brushes made from plant stems, plant kitchen oil and discarded paper – a number of simple line-drawings were made. These drawings were then placed on ants’ foraging trails to block their pheromone trail with wet oil. Observations about the ants’ behaviour were recorded as they worked on and completed the drawing: after making various aborted attempts to find a way across the paper the ants eventually forge a new path; in doing they tread the oily carbon into the white paper. The resulting patterns are the reification of insectoid innovation. Paper and video depict their many attempts to solve this problem and is, ultimately, a record of their successful route across the paper.