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ELLAMERNYK@GMAIL.COM | SF Bay Area

Better Homes & Gardens: Remedies for a Mid-Century to Modern Infestation (2019)

Found cardboard, latex paint, spray paint, acrylic paint, found images, stop motion animation, ants, pheromones
dimensions variable

Cardboard that once acted as a transitory home for your online order accumulates in the blue bin. One man’s trash they say! My sweet sweet treasure.

With a utility knife fueled by guilt, frustration, nostalgia(?), I deconstruct & reconstruct these boxes to fashion a home.

This home that is not built for living, but rather as a space with thinking and reflecting in mind.

 

Look at the ants and see how they swarm. On the counter, on the table, in the fridge?! And even in your beverage. Where did you come from? How did you get in here? How do I get you out of here? Out of my space.

We may stomp and squish and repeat, but they will keep appearing -- and linger nonetheless.

 

We have swarmed this planet where we have allowed our perhaps not-so-secret quest for domination of land, resources, space, to manifest;

Allowed ourselves to absolve responsibility for harms done,

Allowed ourselves to treat (non-human) animals like ready-made objects, machines, dispensers,

Watched ourselves use nature as if it is for stomping and squishing and repeating

Watched ourselves turn subsistence living into lavish, unnecessary, material living,

And allowed ourselves to put these thoughts away along with our groceries.

 

I’ve never really been asked to question these trajectories before. Have you?

Did you / do you care? Did you / do you think about it? Really really think about it?

 

A fascination with mid-century cookbooks led to their accumulation on my studio floor. Being drawn to the fake perfection and collage quality of many of the images, I began animating and collaging components of these images myself -- wanting to see them come to life in contexts outside of underappreciated books. The overly manicured hors d'oeuvres, close ups of juicy steaks, elaborate, fake, disgusting. Is this what is expected of our meals?

Every inch of the dining table covered in food, beverage, napkin, centerpiece, salt, pepper. Is this what is expected of our homes?

 

So I welcome you -- into this fake utopia of a home.

Have a seat,

Relax,

Turn on your favorite channel,

Finish your meal,

And I suggest you take this as an opportunity to question your habitual actions.

The things that we grew up to know as normal, accepted, necessary.

The things you eat, the things you step on, the things you try your best to ignore.

 

And perhaps ask yourself this -- who has collectively moved more dirt? Humans or ants?