Kelsy Ruano
Undergraduate, Drawing

Social Stomachs


Projected on the floor is a video of ants eating and dragging sugar, cereal, and sprinkles. These food items are arranged in a circular shape, surrounding a second video in the center of my family sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner. Both videos are shot from an aerial view. A looped audio of my father repeatedly saying grace plays in the background.

Just as the ants are outnumbering and surrounding the humans in the videos, ants outnumber and surround humans in real life. For every human on earth, there are approximately one million ants. Ants also have two stomachs: a personal and a social. The social stomach functions similar to a lunch box, storing food items to transport to the colony.

In this act of sharing food, parallels can be drawn between human behavior and ant behavior. By looking down at the humans and ants, the goal is to humble the viewer and humanize ants. The two species being portrayed in an equalized way with behavioral similarities will hopefully instill a feeling of responsibility in humans to preserve and respect the life around them.