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Published in “Landscape Futures: Instruments, Devices and Architectural Inventions”, 2013.

Excerpt from “Insect Spectacles, An interview with Chris Woebken” by Geoff Manaugh.
Woebken’s mechanical birdhouse, designed with Natalie Jeremijenko, requires two birds working together to operate.


Animal Superpowers work featured in Landscape Futures, designed with Kenichi Okada.


Installation at the Nevada Museum of Art by Geoff Manaugh.

Insect Spectacles

Fascinated by human interactions with things that are invisible and very difficult to approach.

LandscapeFuture_CWoebken

Chris Woebken The flea circuses were in Copenhagen. They featured tiny machines built for insects, including devices designed for fleas. There was a bike and a carousel, and someone could actually operate the flea circus.

When I was doing that research, though, I also stumbled upon some things that DARPA has been doing, working with the idea of using animals as biosensors. I especially like looking into insects and their “superpowers”—the moth has a superpower to detect pheromones, for example, and you can actually train them. So the military—DARPA—is doing research now where they train moths to do things like detect explosives. What they do is they hook electrodes up to the antennae of a moth and they can make it react—instead of male-to-female or female-to-male—they can twist the pheromone communication, using sugar water, so that the moths will look for explosives.

That process was really intriguing to me.

I have also been reading about this thing called a beetle controller, where you can control a beetle with lights. There was another lab I went to that had a flight simulator for insects, looking at new types of Pavlovian training for insects.

After seeing all that, I started to wonder what would happen if you could have products that actually facilitate interaction with insects in your home, or that made insects accessible to people who want to keep insects as pets.

I’m trying to understand how you can interact with insects on a different level—how you can use their superpowers to create sensors that don’t just allow you to use them in a military sense, but for other projects.

I’m trying to understand how you can interact with insects on a different level—how you can use their superpowers to create sensors that don’t just allow you to use them in a military sense, but for other projects… What would that look like? What kind of products could you build?

How would that interaction work? What would people use it for?

MothDevice_Diagrams

Moth Device Diagrams

MothDevice-1_gs

Moth Device

MothDevice-2_gs

Moth Device

MothDevice-8_gs

Moth Device

Describing his 2008 project Moth, Chris Woebken writes that “insects are easy to train, very robust, have almost robotic strength, and can be bred at very low cost… The insect-as-sensor can become an entity of trust—rather than something you might shy away from or even be repulsed by.”

Woebken_KidPhoto_1_gs

Ant Device

CWoebken_005

Ant Device. Installation at the Nevada Museum of Art by Geoff Manaugh.

LandscapeFuture_CWoebken_004

Giraffe Device. Installation at the Nevada Museum of Art by Geoff Manaugh.

BatBillboard_1_gs

Bat Billboard

 

BatBillboard_2_gs

Bat Billboard

BatBillboard_3_gs

Bat Billboard

Beetle_Wrestler_1_gs

Beetle Wrestler

Beetle_Wrestler_2_gs

Beetle Wrestler

BirdHouse-1_gs

Bird House

BirdHouse-3_gs

Bird House

Chris Woebken’s numerous collaborations have included explorations of animal superpowers, “beetle wrestling,” and other wearable prosthetics, combining playful costumes with new interactive technologies.


Extract from
3D_landscapefutures
Related publications:
Bracket 1 [on Farming] Bracket 2 [goes Soft]
Published in “Landscape Futures: Instruments, Devices and Architectural Inventions”, 2013.

Excerpt from “Insect Spectacles, An interview with Chris Woebken” by Geoff Manaugh.

urbanNext (February 29, 2024) Insect Spectacles. Retrieved from https://urbannext.net/insect-spectacles/.
Insect Spectacles.” urbanNext – February 29, 2024, https://urbannext.net/insect-spectacles/
urbanNext November 19, 2015 Insect Spectacles., viewed February 29, 2024,<https://urbannext.net/insect-spectacles/>
urbanNext – Insect Spectacles. [Internet]. [Accessed February 29, 2024]. Available from: https://urbannext.net/insect-spectacles/
Insect Spectacles.” urbanNext – Accessed February 29, 2024. https://urbannext.net/insect-spectacles/
Insect Spectacles.” urbanNext [Online]. Available: https://urbannext.net/insect-spectacles/. [Accessed: February 29, 2024]

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