Love Motel for Insects / Brandon Ballengee (2015)
The UK Premiere of a new iteration of Love Motel for Insects, site specific to Grizedale Forest, was a large-scale living sculpture for the forest inviting insects from across the forest to stay at the Love Motel for the festival. This sculpture was on site for a month using ultra-violet lights on enormous sculpted canvases to attract an array of bugs and insects, the motel created an opportunity for people to interact with the rarely seen nocturnal arthropods.
The Love Motels for Insects sculptures began in 2001 in Central America. At this time the initial structures were made from battery powered black lights and bed-sheets placed in the Costa Rican forest floor. Within hours numerous species of flying moths, beetles, caddisflies, ants, lacewings and other arthropods descended on the installation. Female moths released chemical pheromones to attract mates and consequently “painted” the impromptu piece. Fascinated and inspired by this initial experience, further Love Motels for Insects have been fabricated along with public nocturnal field trips around the world.
Brandon Ballengée (American, born 1974) is a visual artist, biologist and environmental activist based in New York. Brandon creates transdisciplinary artworks inspired from his ecological field and laboratory research. Since 1996, a central investigation focus has been the occurrence of developmental deformities and population declines among amphibians.Brandon has showcased his work across the globe from the USA to South Korea and Australia to Russia. He continues his amphibian research as a visiting scientist at McGill University (Montréal, Canada). Since 2011 he has been a professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City teaching in both the Fine Arts Department and the Humanities and Sciences Department.