They say art comes in many forms, but these aluminium sculptures are turning pest control into Picasso. Ant Art, as it’s now known, is the process of casting an Ant’s nest, then extracting the sculpture from the ground. Just a warning that if you’re rather fond of ants, you may wish to stop reading.
So, how does it work?
Creating these pieces is an artform in itself, albeit not the friendliest to our small 6 legged friends. The process begins by marking out an area around an ant’s nest, then finding the primary ingress/egress point at the top. Next up, molten aluminium is poured into the opening. As the liquid metal descends, it chases through all the pathways into the earth. Once full to the brim, the aluminium is left to cool.
Once the aluminium is set, the extraction can begin. They start by carefully digging away at the sides of the ant hill, clearing roots or any debris away. Once they can see the outline of the complete nest, they extract it, either with hands or pulleys, depending on the size. A high-pressure hose is then used to clear the soil from the structure, revealing the glistening aluminium artwork underneath.
What about the ants?
While we don’t necessarily agree with the destruction of the ant nest, it’s hard not to be impressed with the unique structure that’s created. As you can imagine, not everyone is supportive of this artistic endeavour though. As the independent.co.uk noted back in 2013 when the original “Anthill Art” video went viral, the anonymous artist claimied they were receiving daily YouTube comments along the lines of “what if I poured aluminium in your house”. It’s worth noting that many of the colonies that are destroyed are both dangerous to humans, and to the local economy. Many of the original pieces were sold on eBay, with Joe MacFarland blogging about one of item that sold for $450.00USD.
Where can I see more?
You can view a range of the artworks on the Anthill Art website, or do a quick search through YouTube to see everyone and their dogs having a go. A notable Australian version is Australian Ant Art, that has a couple of videos up, including the extraction of an astonishing 200KG Meat Ant Nest, which is promptly lifted up on pulleys onto a ute tray, while the cattle dogs run around in the background… doesn’t get more ‘Straya than that.
Oh, and just in case you’re really intrigued, please don’t try this at home.
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