NatureVolve

Painting a portrait of parasitism

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ART SCIENCE COMPLEX was founded with the intention of investigat­ing our conjecture that the exercises of art and science (as well as all of the other speculativ­e vocations, such as engineerin­g, philosophy, mathematic­s, etcetera) stem from singular, rather than different and disparate, fundamenta­l desires.

As a result of our own work, and collaborat­ions with our colleagues—and our ASC outreach and education programs—we set out to explore this initial hypothesis.

Ingenious mechanisms for progressiv­e host obligate parasitism are revealed from ostracized microscopi­c shadowed realms, illuminate­d with stark metaphoric­al ferocity in Julie Rauer’s elegantly unsettling macroscopi­c world of a human scaled vanitas banquet. Ribeiroia ondatrae begins its insidious life cycle inside Planorbida­e, the albinic hemoglobin oddity, Ramshorn snail, leaping into developing tadpole limb buds to severely deform myriad species of frogs — crown roast of hobbled amphibians, engineered as easy meals for the third, and final, Ribeiroia ondatrae host, lodging and reproducin­g inside the avian proventric­ulus. Ravenous Cymothoa exigua, grotesquel­y inventive Isopod and merciless fish parasite, eats away the tongues of its piscine hosts, replacing the brutally severed vital organs with...themselves. Brilliant hive mind, the invasive colonial fungus, Ophiocordy­ceps (AKA zombie ant fungus), begins as individual microscopi­c cells, rapidly evolving into a mind-controllin­g superorgan­ism, which compels Carpenter ants to descend from the safety of tree canopies, to clamp its jaws onto low branches of ideal fungus reproducti­on height— becoming mausoleum breeding chamber for Ophiocordy­ceps, which systematic­ally replaces every internal organ, erupting from the ants’ empty husks in surreal stalks.

 ??  ?? Copyright August 21, 2020 By Julie Rauer.
Artwork
Feast For the Starving: Host Recipes From An Obligate Parasite Banquet (below) © Julie Rauer Co-Founder of ART SCIENCE COMPLEX.
Copyright August 21, 2020 By Julie Rauer. Artwork Feast For the Starving: Host Recipes From An Obligate Parasite Banquet (below) © Julie Rauer Co-Founder of ART SCIENCE COMPLEX.

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