Title: $ Edge
Where: ‘Life on the Edge’ Arid Lands Festival, Port Augusta, South Australia
The idea was to create an installation of +-100 or more oversized ants (+-30x20x20cm each) as a metaphor to human society’s slow adaption and often resistance to social and ecological change. Humanities preoccupation with capitalistic gain and individual achievement has driven many vulnerable individuals and whole ethnic groups to the edge and over. The basic physiological and safety needs as defined by Maslow in his hierarchy of needs are not met; therefore individuals are unable to reach higher need levels such as belongingness and love, esteem, self-actualization and self-transcendence. Humans join societies, form long-term binding contracts, create enormously successful societies, yet we make them work primarily for ourselves. It seems humans live on a never ending edge, an eternal paradox, a tension between individuality and self-serving, on the one side, and the needs of the society on the other, that makes individual success guaranteed, leaving no room for those already on the edge. I would like to draw from but not totally replicate the ant colonies where freedom and individuality is not defined by profit. Individuals of an ant colony are free individuals cooperating without profit motive; they build amazing shelter and food sharing systems and yet are able to survive without the colony. If human society could ensure shared shelter and food systems for all it would ensure that each human being may live in dignity.
The ants represented in the installation are indigenous to Australia and are cast from bio-plastic and a variety of different colours of local Australian sand. The ants form a pathway/edge creating a dollar sign, representing the profit driven society. At the top and the bottom of the dollar sign/vertical stripe are continued by ants creating a new pathway that gradually change in colour to show the change. The installation stayed on site and decomposed through wind and weather. All the materials used are biodegradable.