Colombian Artist Rafael Gomezbarros Visits Prototype of the AntU Interactive Exhibit

July 9, 2018

Heather Elliott-Famularo, Curatorial Assistant Javier Mejia, Rafael Gomezbarros, Anna Lindemann, Michael Toomey

On June 7th, DMD welcomed Colombian artist Rafael Gomezbarros to view the prototype of the AntU interactive exhibit that DMD students helped develop this year in Anna Lindemann and Michael Toomey’s “AntU Traveling Exhibit Development” course. This interactive exhibit exploring the decades-long research of Carl and Marian Rettenmeyer, and the creation of the Army Ant Guest Collection, will be installed at the UConn Storrs Babbidge Library in October 2018 and will then travel to the regional campuses.
Rafael Gomez Barros will bring his Casa Tomada “House Taken” installation to UConn in 2020, which will involve more than 2,500 large ant sculptures on buildings across campus!

Rafael Gomezbarros and Senior Lecturer of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UConn Marta Wells, serving as translator

More About the AntU Traveling Exhibit Development Course:
In the AntU Traveling Exhibit Development course, students explored the use of interactive motion graphics for museum exhibition design. Working collaboratively, students developed digital media for integration within a traveling exhibit being created by AntU. Students in this course work with a team from Digital Media and Design, the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, and the UConn Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department.

More About AntU:
AntU is an idea borne out of an award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Collections in Support of Biological Research program to the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (EEB), in partnership with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History (CSMNH), to preserve and curate the Carl W. and Marian E. Rettenmeyer Army Ant Guest Collection. This world-class collection of over 2 million army ants and their guests is the result of 50 years of careful, detailed fieldwork in Central and South America by the Rettenmeyers. AntU expands existing outreach components of the grant in an effort to share the secrets revealed by this project with society at large.

Multiple departments and schools across UConn campuses will be participating in AntU over the four year life of the grant, each challenged with exploring the idea “Learning from the Miniature Societies of Army Ants.” Their efforts will be guided by three overarching themes: (1) the role of the real, (2) complexity, and (3) informing human culture.

AntU Instructors:
Anna Lindemann and Michael Toomey
Students in the Spring 2018 Class:
Ali Betlej, Ali Sailer, Allie Marsh, Thomas Carter, Jacob Rodier, Nini Constable, Rachel Enzie, Helena Sirken, Corlis Fraga, and Sarah Shattuck
AntU Collaborators:
Dr. Janine N. Caira
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Jane O’Donnell, Ph.D.
Manager of Scientific Collections, Invertebrates
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Leanne Kennedy Harty
Associate Director, CT State Museum of Natural History
Collin Harty
Exhibit Planning & Communication Design
Connecticut State Museum of Natural History
Elizabeth Barbeau
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
AAGC Program Assistant/Caira Laboratory
Geert Goemans, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Carl and Marian Rettenmeyer Army Ant Guest Collection (AAGC)
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Bernard Goffinet, Ph.D.
Professor – Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology