Painting a portrait of parasitism
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.