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In-Sect derives its inspiration from an art residency at Lake Studios Berlin in 2018, whereby I explored psychological and physical human transformation. Aspects of gender, sexuality and class were lost to celebratory and dysmorphic expressions of Otherkin – insect-like and animalesque humans. The related drawings below, and the performance artworks Her Abyss – especially Bugs, Birds and Fireflies, were created during this time.

In the late spring of 2024, In-Sect will become a nomadic community-focused art project throughout Portugal. People who I meet along my travels will be invited to participate in creative moments and workshops to create miniature insect representations – from memory or imagination.

Some of the insects will be constructed from found objects, such as leaves and twigs. Others will be sketched, including collaborative exquisite corpse drawings. And some insects will be fleeting representations, such as shadow puppets made with hands or paper cutouts. Human-made insect sound imitations will also be recorded.

Throughout my travels, images and videos of the community-made miniature insect representations will be shared over social media. Towards the end of my travels, there will be a presentation with an element of surprise, whereby select insect representations will come to life in human size through simple light projections and amplified sound.

The concept of In-Sect is about empathizing (being “in”) with insects and creating a new belief/understanding (sect) of insects and our relationships with them. Overall, I hope to provoke thought about what we know of insects and how we care about our relationships with them. The objective is to draw close-up attention to humans’ interconnected relationships with insects, acknowledge the criticality of insects’ existence for life on earth, and confront humans’ powers (and possible fears) over insects.

Some of the research being conducted for In-Sect includes: Pedro Feijó’s 16th-century “Portuguese witches of animal-like affinities;” the shapeshifting of Hemimetabolous insects, not involving larvae in their transformation; and the Portuguese folklore legends of “Mouros and Mouras,” an underground (and sometimes giant) supernatural human-like race who inhabited the lands since the beginning of time.

  2023  /  drawing  /  Last Updated February 5, 2024 by tascencao  /