The Love Motel for Insects

The Love Motel for Insects project will only be funded if at least $8,000 is pledged by Sunday Dec 11, 11:59pm EST.

Artist Rendering of Proposed Love Motel for Insects in NYC

Urban Art Projects is fundraising on Kickstarter to bring artist/scientist Brandon Ballengée’s Love Motel for Insects to New York City. The Love Motel for Insects is an innovative interactive outdoor artwork that is both an art piece and a life science project.

Combined with ancillary educational programming referred to as Bug Love, this programming informs the general NYC public about important environmental issues, inspires NYC youth so that their interest in science continues into the classroom and provides inspirational experiences, termed Eco-actions, involving both art and science.

Ballengée’s Love Motel for Insects has been exhibited worldwide since 2001; its various iterations have been extensively covered by the media as well as referenced by academia. Ballengée has been reviewed by art critics including Roberta Smith, Edward Lucie Smith and Lucy Lippard; he has also been mentioned by art historian Steven Wilson in his book Art + Science. Media coverage includes features on PBS, ABC News, BBC, and NPR.

Venice Biennale, Waterways, Italy, 2008, Photographed by Brandon Ballenge?e

Ballengée is also referenced in Art Practice as Research, by Professor Graeme Sullivan of Columbia University. Additionally, Ballengée recently participated in a symposium at the National Science Foundation and has received numerous honors such as the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and was recently named an Aububon TogetherGreen Fellow; a fellowship which receives funding from Toyota. Ballengée’s work has also been exhibited widely and is in numerous public collections including The American Museum of Natural History in New York, NASA in Washington, D.C., Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England, and the Yale Peabody Museum.

Love Motel for Insects is an ongoing series of outdoor installations intended to construct situations between humans and arthropods. The works use ultra-violet lights on enormous blank canvases to attract insects and create an opportunity for public interactions with rarely seen nocturnal arthropods. At each location, the Love Motels for Insects become the backdrop for community events such as picnics, biodiversity festivals, graffiti jams, scientific investigations, musical events and even local film screenings relating to local insect species.

EcoConnect and Love Motel for Insects in collaboration with Ecohaven Project

As described by Ballengée himself: “The Love Motel for Insects sculptures began in 2001 in Central America. At this time my initial structures were made from black (ultra-violet) lights and bed-sheets placed in the Costa Rican forest floor. Within hours numerous species of flying moths, Hemipteras, beetles, caddisflies, ants, lacewings and other arthropods descended on the installation. Female moths released chemical pheromones to attract mates and consequently “painted” the impromptu piece. Fascinated and inspired by this initial experience, I fabricated further Love Motel for Insects sculptures and developed ancillary public nocturnal field trips. To date versions of the project have debuted in diverse environments including tropical rain forests (rain, dry and cloud), inner city bus-stops, London roof-tops, industrial ‘brown-field’ sites, public schools, Scottish Highlands, German town centers, Venetian boats, and other sites within temperate climate systems. Each Love Motel for Insects variation is site-specific to each unique community and eco-system.”