Footprints and other Worm Art Works

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Humans are probably the most invasive and damaging animal species to our planet’s ecology at this time. One such development is the creation of poor soil fertility by the killing of earth worms indirectly from the toxic chemicals (e.g.: fungicides, herbicides and pesticides) farmers use regularly on their crops to increase yields and the marketability of their products (e.g. no blemishes on fruits and vegetables). This diminishes soil fertility thus forcing farmers to use fertilizers. The goal of this ongoing ecological art project is to increase the awareness of the general public to the ecological cost of perfect looking vegetables, fruits, gardens and lawns. 

These works were inspired by the poem Sink by Alyssa Harms-Wiebe that speaks to our disconnection with our earth:

I stand still

it’s a rare occasion to stand still

I stand still and my shoes come off my feet I am so still

So still

that I begin to form architecture

I become suddenly aware of my human footprint I cannot stand still without leaving an imprint

1       stand still

and I

sink

sink

sink

into the depths of the soil

begin to architect a body of work

as I watch the Land

make space for my imprint …

your footprint carries a weight

your footprint carries a weight so heavy

your footprint carries a weight

what I see

what I know

what wealth of history I preserve

is of no interest to you

your footprint carries a weight

your footprint carries a weight so heavy

your footprint carries a weight

tell me

Earth-dweller

how to remain still

when your stomping

drives me to madness?

I listen listen

can’t stop listening to her …
 

The works begin by painting footprints and other signs with dyes or acrylic paints mixed with commercially available pesticides, fertilizers and fungicides. Once these are dry, worms from a compost bucket are gathered washed in warm water and placed in diluted non-toxic food coloring and earth pigments. They are then put on the paper and their movements are video recorded. As they move, they leave color traces of their path. Their avoidance of the toxic chemical area is also visible. After they move off the paper they are washed and returned to the compost bin. The results may appear as abstract paintings to an uninformed viewer. The process is videotaped.

09 waw#9web, Foot Print series #1made by red wrigglers with non-toxic dyes on paper with footprints with insecticidal soap and black paint, 24in.x18in., 2020

Accompanying video #9 Foot Print series #1. Sink 4:39 min.

https://youtu.be/4Ore8eZFOEA

12 waw-handprint series #1-web, made by red wrigglers with non-toxic black and gold dyes on canvas with handprints with insecticidal soap and gold and silver paint, 14in.x 14in., 2021 

Accompanying video with sound. 1:49min

https://youtu.be/ls6ghxMKljQ 

13 waw-footprint series #2-web, made by red wrigglers with non-toxic dyes on canvas with footprints with insecticidal soap and black paint, 14in.x 14in., 2020 

Accompanying video with sound. 2:00 min

https://youtu.be/ErlUyleruPY 

14 waw-footprint series #3-web, made by red wrigglers with non-toxic dyes on canvas with footprints with insecticidal soap and black paint, 14in.x 14in., 2020 

Accompanying video with sound. 2:24 min

https://youtu.be/Qpw1-DlvLl8

15 waw-footprint series #4-web, made by red wrigglers with red and gold non-toxic dyes on canvas with footprints with insecticidal soap and black paint, 20in.x 20in., 2020 

Accompanying video with sound. 3:48 min

https://youtu.be/Qpw1-DlvLl8

16 waw-footprint series #5-web, made by red wrigglers with non-toxic yellow, orange, red dyes on canvas with footprints with insecticidal soap and black paint, 24in.x 16in., 2021 

Accompanying video with sound. 3:38 min

https://youtu.be/XkujKePF2uk

18 waw#18-web, Please turn the power off made by red wrigglers with blue, green, red non-toxic dyes on canvas with on/off sign in insecticidal soap and black paint, 14in.x 14in., 2021 

Accompanying video with sound. 4:12min

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zTro8W5Mlo&t=167s

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