Although they used to be filled with soil or sawdust, newer ant farms use an edible semi-transparent gel, which serves as both nutrition and medium of travel for the ants trapped inside. Most of that gel isn’t eaten, but instead pushed aside as the trapped ants endlessly burrow to an intended destination they’ll never reach.
With the creative use of non-toxic dye, artist Brad Troemel has managed to a gel-filled ant farm into an exhibition at New York’s Tomorrow Gallery. Numbering a dozen in total, these technicolor ant farms look as though they’ve gone Miami Style.
But while pretty, the unique pastel palette isn’t the only thing that makes these ant farms interesting: each ant colony is excavating for a cause, ranging from the Earth Liberation Front to Planned Parenthood. At the end of the exhibition, Troemel will weigh the gel displaced by each team of ants. The three colonies that have shifted the most Earth at the end of the day will have 10% of the show’s proceeds split three ways between their sponsors. It’s insect slavery for a cause!