I’m sure you’ve heard of the Anthropocene, a purposed geological epoch, which considers how human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels, or the extraction of minerals, has been so intense that they are changing climate norms once stable for several millennia; however, do you know what may come next? According to the biologist, and naturalist, E.O. Wilson, we may be entering the Eremocene, an ‘Age of Loneliness’ marked not by only by a vast change in the Earth’s geology, but through a radical loss of biodiversity. Said in another way, if we don’t reorganize society soon, the only life left on the planet could be a few people, and some insects. While capitalist modes of accumulation can be blamed for the overexploitation of nature and her resources, socialist politics haven’t really fared much better. Wilson, who himself is a don of entomology, once remarked, “Marx was right, it is just that he had the wrong species”. Maybe something truly radical is necessary to raise awareness; maybe we need to become ant!
Comprised of layers upon layers of detritus, from studio scraps to junked replica paintings ordered on eBay to antiquated 8-track tape cartridges, the “Antfarms” are a series of artworks, which, in the words of Dustin Yellin record a “landfill of human time”. These media “tombstones” can be viewed as standalone flatworks, which combine the forms and histories of art assemblage; however, each panel in the series is fixed to the standard 4’ x 8’ module utilized by contractors to build walls either through sheetrock or plywood. This construction vocabulary itself can be applied to build large-scale hedge maze-esque labyrinths through which visitors can explore. Here, lost humans forge through the products of their own refuse so as to find escape from the clutches of contemporary waste culture. With a wink and a nod toward the etymology of “vivarium”, Yellin’s bricolage entreats upon audiences to reconsider their own “place of life” as they crawl through it.