An Unusual Hobby
This may look like craziness to someone just passing by, but the magic being worked here is something worth seeing. This man is not doing this to disturb or kill the ants living here, but is instead making art that looks like something made of magic.
YouTube Starts It
“Casting a Fire Ant Colony with Molten Aluminum” was a video posted on YouTube in 2003 that really showed how molten metal could be used in ant hills.
The beginning of the video shows a man taking measurements of the ant hill, presumably tying to decide if the size will work. Then he pours an interesting liquid in to the mound as people watch to see what happens.
Aluminum in Liquid Form
The liquid that was poured in was molten aluminum. Viewers could see the metal creating an occasional spark or flame as it was being used in this ant hill for a creative purpose.
Movement Under the Mound
Steam starts to leave the mound of dirt as the man stands there watching his creating. Obviously any ant that had been living in this dirt was now forever part of the aluminum mold that was being created.
Need to Dig it Out
The metal is given all the time it needs to cool down. Once it has cooled to a safe temperature, the man digs it out to see what has been formed.
First, he gets the basic parts of dirt off the outside. Then, he hoses it down to see what he has created. The mound is beginning to show with detail that is incredible to describe.
Art as a Business
Ant Hill Art was the creator of the video that was posted on YouTube. They would create this sculptures out of aluminum and poured in to ant hills and sell them through Ebay and other sources.
The Details are in the Art
Ants are already known to be creators of masterpieces with their tunnels, but this art shows how detailed they really are. This kind of work for the ant colony takes daily maintenance by the worker ants and seems to show an intelligence level not normally expected from insects.
An Amazing Mold
Because of the amazing detail of the ant hill, the molten aluminum creates an artistic masterpiece when showing all of the detail. It appears to be an intricate design by a human, but is really the work of ants building a home for their colony.
Each One is Unique
No two ant hills are the same. The queen decides how each one is going to be made and communicates it to the ants that will make it happen. The mold from the video posted in 2003 shows in ant hill that is 18 inches deep.
Getting Close to 100 Million Views
The video doesn’t seem to get old and continues to get more viewers. The video now stands at having over 94 million views and people still watch this creation form.
There was obviously controversy over the killing of the ants. Was killing a colony of ants worth the creation of a piece of art? Clearly, none of the ants would have survived the aluminum.
Anger of the Cruelty
Viewers posted comments on the video about their anger towards the destruction of the ants’ home and their lives. Some viewers even claimed that the art was murder since all of the ants died.
Anger Moved to Facebook
The anger didn’t just stay on YouTube. Viewers also went to their Facebook page to continue the accusations of murder and cruelty to animals and insects, and they claimed that nothing about the creation was art.
Animal Cruelty Problems
Many people agreed with the statement that this was cruel. The outrage over the deaths of ants was more than anyone would have expected.
When the accusations and trouble continued to get worse, the artist decided that it was time to speak. He informed every one that people were already trying to get rid of fire ants because of the harm caused by them and that is should be considered more of a service than cruelty.
It is Hard to Find Abandoned Nests
He explained that he always looks for abandoned nests first, but that they aren’t that easy to come across. When he makes his creations though, he is still living areas that are over run with fire ants causing problems, so he isn’t doing the area any harm.
A Professional Opinion
An expert from BugLife says he loves the ideas of the castings coming from empty nests because it really does show how amazing the ants are. However, there is no escaping the fact that killing ants with the molten metal in a live nest is cruel because of the terrible way the ants are dying.
Sales are Increasing
Even though he has to work through the controversy, he has no intention of stopping his art work. He still thinks the designs are amazing and each one is unique.