In(sect)erspecies Collaboration
By Jessica Oropesa, Bee(s), Beetle(s), Butterfly(s) and Ladybug(s)

Started on: 06/09/10 00:53:00
Medium: Visual

For this project I attempted to collaborate with insects, including bees, beetles, and butterflies.

When I was around ten to twelve years old, my dad asked an odd favor of me. He asked me if I was willing to catch bees for him. He was experiencing pain in his arm and was told about bee-sting therapy. So I used to go out to the ice plants that were on the other side of our yard and catch bees. Ever since then I was never afraid of bees, like most children my age. They earned my respect and I learned to understand them as I never had before.

I have always possessed a curiosity for life in other creatures. When it came to bugs, I was never really scared. I would catch beetles and play with caterpillars, watch snails and trap moths. Bugs were always weirdly interesting to me.
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Project Updates
06/09/10 00:58:36 - Bee Yourself

My sisters and I went to a park in Goleta for an event we were having. We had some down time so many of us laid in the grass and chatted with each other. I was taking pictures most of the time. In the big grassy field, a bee flew down and landed in the grass. Me, being somewhat of a bug-lover, tried to see how close I could get to the bee without agitating it. I was just observing its behavior as I slowly moved toward it. I was able to get close enough to get a good shot with my camera and the bee didn't seem to mind my company. Unlike most people's reactions of screaming and flailing, my calm and reserved attitude about being near the bee seemed to communicate that I was no threat to the insect. I felt a connection of respect for each other's space. I didn't get too close and neither did the bee.

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06/09/10 03:54:31 - Beetle Juice

I was on a walk to the beach one day when I noticed a dime-sized beetle on the ground. I'm not sure what type of beetle it was, but I chose to stop and just watch it. It was scurrying under the weeds and flowers, trying not to be noticed. When it moved, I inched closer and around it, in a counter-clockwise fashion. When it stopped, I stopped. I didn't want to bother it too much so after about five minutes I let him be.

When I arrived on the beach, what I really wanted to interact with were those millions of flies that hang out on the washed up kelp. Most people are disgusted at the sight of these, but knowing my own interest and curiosity about bugs, I wanted to see if I could find somewhat of a connection. They usually stay together, hanging out in the kelp, until something disturbs them. Then they collectively fly together to move to a different spot. They don't move too far at a time though. Usually they move about a foot away from their previous spot until disturbed again. So what I did for this interaction? I walked through them and saw the reactions they had with me. They would all move together and it almost looked as if they were part of one organism. Their small bodies and large numbers allowed them to keep in close contact with each other. When they moved about in their quick flights, they resembled drawings in the air.

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06/09/10 04:06:15 - Self-Propelled Flower

How often do you see butterflies?

For me it is quite rare.. but I do see them on occasion. One thing I particularly like about butterflies is that they can fly, and once the reach a certain height, if they want to descend, they simply stop flapping their wings and let the wind and gravity do the rest of the work. I observed their vertical flight patterns and recorded when they would flap their wings to elevate themselves and when they would glide in the air. When drawn, the movement reminded me of heart monitors. It also reminded me of the short breaths we take when we weep followed by long sighs of relief -- hyperventilation. Butterflies are beautiful creatures that symbolize rebirth in many cultures. What I wanted to achieve with this project was to capture the movement of the insect flying up and floating down.

For my installation, I plan to "draw" the flight patterns on the wall with string.

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06/13/10 14:59:26 - Self-Propelled Flower [Installation]

For our final show, I was able to illustrate my interpretation of a butterfly's flight pattern with string and push pins. These are the photographs I took myself.

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