Insect Imagology

Imagology and metaphorology of eusocial insects in science, popular culture, and art

"… and crawling on the planet's face / some insects, called the human race …"
Imagology and metaphorology of eusocial insects in science, popular culture, and art

At first sight, mutual ties between insects and humans seem rather sparse. Figuratively spoken, the tree of biological evolution spread its branches considerably far to separate the four-legged mammal from the egg-born creature with its six-legged and chitin-armoured body. Hence no wonder that when it comes to insects, human perspective may distinguish pest from a more or less useful rest – however, in more general terms insects are perceived as strange and alien "others", either fascinating or abject, and perhaps both at the same time.

Yet probably for this very reason we find insects also as favourite subject for a whole range of cultural fantasies, phantasms and projections, their role varying related to changing historical, ethnical, political and aesthetic interests configuring the latter.
In this context, so called "politcal" or eusocial insects – bees, ants and termites – have held a prominent position from early on; be it as mirror, as exemplar or – in fact rather more lately – as horrific antipodes; while more recently they seem to regain the very status they held a hundred years ago, from the around the second half of the nineteenth century onwards and especially around the last turn of the centuries: serving not only as a bio model for technolocial developments in fields ranging from robotics to a.i., but likewise as life study field for organizational and political theory, strategic planning of workflows, a.o., and even future vision for humankind itself.

On this background, the project focuses on the imagology and metaphorology, imaginations and narrations, depictions and diagrams of eusocial insects in the diverging yet significantly intertwined fields of science, popular culture, and the arts, their media, their discourses and their histories.
With respect to the increasing attention attached to bees and ants especially from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, special interest is devoted to their current position in the practices and discourses related to emerging bio and information technologies, embedding the latter into the broader perspective of "cultural entomology".

Please note: Lectures and publications (since 1996-) have still to be implemented into this site. For the time being, pls. find related information at kuniver.se : lectures and kuniver.se : publications as well as at the (old) research focus page on insect imagology (with updates until 2007).


main project: TechnoNatureCultures

related project on www.visuelle-kultur.info: Beehive

tags: art, art history, cultural history, film, games, history of science, imagination, insects, media, media history, natural sciences, popular culture, technology, video, visual culture



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