Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hubert Dupras' little art workers

The images above illustrate the results of an unusual artistic collaboration between the French artist Hubert Duprat and a group of caddis fly larvae. A small winged insect belonging to the order Trichoptera and closely related to the butterfly, caddis flies live near streams and ponds and produce aquatic larvae that protect their developing bodies by manufacturing sheaths, or cases, spun from silk and incorporating substances—grains of sand, particles of mineral or plant material, bits of fish bone or crustacean shell—readily available in their benthic ecosystem. The larvae are remarkably adaptable: if other suitable materials are introduced into their environment, they will often incorporate those as well.

Hubert Duprat is one of those beautiful cases of scientist-turned-artist that makes me happy. Nature as a poietic element might not be anything new - after all, the wind does make magnificent drawings, and the sky is filled with clouds. Yet somehow, this is different. What possibly fascinates in this case is the fact that a live creature brings to life a work that seems to have the intelligent design typical of human activity. And it's not just about the art. Notice the difference between this and an elephant with a paintbrush: here, it is not the bare similarity with a man-made work of art that fascinates, but rather, the game between the demiurge and its work-turned-artist.
Once the stage is set, the director moves back, as his performers create.

See also the larvae in an action film.



Laura said...

I think this can be of your interest:

Bethany said...

Hi! I stumbled across your blog and thought you might want to participate in an interactive illustration project I'm working on. Check it out here:

Anonymous said...

Sema Bekirovic did something similar with a waterbird (Meerkoet).
On the Amsterdam canals you can see these nests, made from plastic bags, stuff floating in the water...
She "fed" one of the birds personal belongings which the bird incorporated in its nest.

merdinhas said...

I really like that "unusual artistic collaboration".
As work and as result.

Anonymous said...

I really like it. It's visualy stunning.

Anonymous said...

drastic action art

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TDLyons said...

The silence is piercing! =)

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Oliver said...

Thats beautiful. Good for Dupras!

Lunettes Rouges said...

There is a whole collection of these little golden larvae in Chateau d'Oiron (it is a bit far from Paris, but the Culture Ministry decided entry there will now be free of charge)

Matthew Corgan said...

The pictures on this blog are so captivating. You should check out the art and pictures at my blog

Have a great day!

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Are you into art, films and such? Join our Forums, or come to my Blog and Check out our Underlab Show. Features Live Performances by Florida Musicians.


Cat Rocketship said...

I have been dreaming of glittering insects since reading this entry.

LynZ said...

I think that this is interesting. The concept of incorporating nature and art at this level is fascinating, but who's really the artist here? The larvae or Dupras? I mean he did the research and had the idea to incorporate this materials to the insects, but the final product wasn't made by him, it was only the possibility that Dupras made.

Anonymous said...

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