May - July 2022
Documentation courtesy of Alison Postma
Collateral is a photographic mural depicting a sheet of fly paper used by a private land owner in the summer of 2021 to deter invasive Lymantria dispar dispar caterpillars from ascending an adult maple tree. An infestation of LDD moths causes considerable damage to hardwood trees, as each specimen consumes up to 1000 square centimetres of foliage in its larval (caterpillar) phase.
When an invasive species begins to noticeably affect an ecosystem, there is often a protective instinct to shoot from the hip and “nip it in the bud,” so to speak. This was the abrupt reaction of many Canadian land owners in the summer of 2021 as they took to wrapping their hardwood trees with layer upon layer of adhesive fly tape. As illustrated in the mural, there isn’t a single caterpillar caught in the maelstrom of carnage; rather, there is a vast taxonomy of flies, mosquitoes, and midges that would more than excite an amateur entomologist.
As “collateral,” this collection of insects reminds us of the complexity of ecosystems when humans try to invent quick solutions to environmental changes. Displaying this almost Abstract Expressionist-looking mural on a gallery bar doubles as commentary on the ability of visual culture to seduce, distract, and repel.
The timeline of this installation aligns with the larval stage of LDD moths in the Greater Toronto Area this summer.