The sculptural installations “Love Motels for Insects” began in Central America in 2001 as an investigative reaction to the intense arthropod diversity found within Neotropical rainforests. Attempting to attract insects, Ballengée set-up sculptures made from black (ultra-violet) lights and bed-sheets placed in the forest floor. Within moments hundreds of flying visitors came- Female moths released chemicals to attract mates and consequently “painted” the blank canvas, beetles hungrily lumped one upon the other while releasing vibrant colored eggs and primordial fluids- a kind of arthropod abstract expressionism. Fascinated and inspired by this initial experience, Ballengée began creating UV-light sculptures and public nocturnal field-trips around the world. Variations have been installed in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. At each location the arthropods reproduce and create pheromone paintings and the public participates by photographing visiting insects. Through this performative practice, art and science research becomes a transformative catalyst towards ecological awareness and cross-species interaction.
In the imaginary collective, insects hold a singular place. They are a perverted representation of the ornithological figure. In our analysis, we will demonstrate how Ballengée stimulates reflexes of the imaginary unconscious. Supported by Bachelard’s theory (L’air et les songes), we will confront the concept of the “imagination of the air” to Ballengée’s sculptural installation. We will see in which measure this piece, sculpture of living or performative drawings, substitutes the hand of men for the wings of animals. Taken in the oniric dynamic, “Love Motel for insects” is a suspension of the aerial fly prolonged in a terrestrial fly. The earth explained by the sky, the “imagination of the air” taken in the ephemeral impulse gives birth to the impalpable writing of a temporary fly.