The Ant Farm

Two years ago I asked 100 people to censor their own nude image. One year ago I had 70 people connect themselves with a  single red rope. Most recently, I asked 100 people to populate the Ant Farm.

If the Ant Farm was printed full-size, it would present a structure 30 feet high and 40 feet wide. It is made of 100 rectangular boxes, divided roughly 50/50 between horizontal and vertical. In each box is a single person. Some appear to be isolated from everyone else; some chose to acknowledge or interact with their neighbors. The exact pose was up to that person and affects the overall mood and tone of the finished piece.

Most of the models were solo, but there were a number of couples and one trio. In these cases each person was still in their own box, but we were able to construct some fun interactions that broke through the barriers and made things a bit more interesting. The project even includes a shot of musician Amanda Palmer naked, as she was kind enough to pose the last time she was in town. And yes, I added that last sentence to catch anyone Googling for “amanda palmer naked.”

The Ant Farm was displayed at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival in June, 2012. For a full recap of the project, see this blog post.

The above image, which is just a straight Photoshop export, isn’t able to show the 3D element that I built into the final piece. Instead of printing it as one large image, I broke out small panels of two or three people together and mounted these at varying heights to the background. The result was something that had a bit of depth and required the viewer to poke around a bit to see everything.

The image to the right is my best attempt at getting a shot of what the project looks like all framed up. The frame itself is a simple construction of 1×6 boards around the sides with a plywood backing. A sheet of plexi is screwed directly to the front.  You can start to see how the panels are offset from each other, though admittedly that’s still tricky to show in a 2D rendering. And yes, that’s a really ugly rug. But don’t worry, this shot was taken in the basement, where ugly rugs are sent to die.

Finally, here’s a close-up that gives you a slightly better view of how the panels are offset.

And now, I can officially consider the Ant Farm project to be closed! Once again I have to thank everyone who took part in the project as well as everyone who had such nice things to say about it when they saw it in person. Now I just need to find some place for it to live in our house. Yikes.