Today, I found an article from 2010 that discusses this artwork:
What’s so special about it, you ask? Well, as reported by The Telegraph, this piece was made by artist Chris Trueman by killing 200,000 ants. I’ve discussed the ethics of killing ants before (see here and here), but regardless of one’ answer to the general question of the morality of killing insects, one of Trueman’s comments borders on depraved:
Mr. Trueman, from Claremont, California, admitted that putting the piece together had been a challenge.
He even stopped half way through the process because he had an attack of conscience after killing the ants.
He said: “It took several years, not because of the actual labour, but because at one point I started to feel bad about killing all of the ants and I stopped the project for over a year.
“Then I decided that the first ants would have died in vain if I didn’t finish the work so I decided to continue.”
So in other words, he felt bad for killing ants, but then decided to kill more ants to finish the thing he didn’t feel was worth killing ants for so that the ants he initially killed would still be used for that thing that he stopped killing ants for because he felt it wasn’t worth killing the ants for it.
However, although I find Trueman’s reasoning for his change of heart convoluted and kind of creepy, I personally think the picture is awesome. But this is coming from the guy that’s already killed tens of thousands of ants on a Kansas prairie to answer some questions for a small research project and who will likely generate a life-time anticide total in the millions. In any case, I think we can all agree on one conclusion of Trueman’s:
“Ants ride the line of what we consider intelligent life, if we see them in the kitchen, many of us think little of killing them all.
“If we take the time to look at them they are remarkable creatures.”
Whether in art or nature, ants are remarkable indeed.