This publication assembles three phases of Termite Economies, a major series of artworks produced between 2018 and 2020 by the Australian artist Nicholas Mangan.
In Termite Economies (Phase 1) Mangan researched an anecdote that termite abilities might one day lead humans to gold deposits. Phase 2 explored termite eusociality, pheromonal communication, building behavior, biomimicry, superorganism and swarm intelligence. Phase 3 deployed termite collectivism as a speculative model for rerouting human neural pathways. Within each phase, Mangan developed specific methods to explore these phenomena formally, spatially, and through moving images. Termite Economies grappled with the potentiality of collective social behavior and complexities of systematic exploitation of non-human intelligence.
The book presents each phase in the order of the exhibition series. It includes process and research photographs, diagrams, installation and detailed imagery. It includes an essay by Artist Mariana Silva, a fictional text by writer ST.Lore, a conversation between Mangan and cultural theorist Ana Teixeira Pinto, and a republished essay by Dr. Guy Theraulaz Research Director Member of Team CAB: Collective Animal Behavior Center for Research on Animal Cognition, CNRS.
Alert to both history and science, Nicholas Mangan (born 1979, Geelong, Victoria, lives and works in Melbourne) is a multi-disciplinary artist known for interrogating narratives embedded in a diverse range of objects. With a keen interest in the processes of forming meaning from objects, culture and natural phenomena, Mangan creates unnerving drawings, montages, sculptures and installations. His work addresses a wide range of themes, including the ongoing impacts of colonialism, humanity's fraught relationship with the natural environment, contemporary consumptive cultures and the complex dynamics of the global political economy.
Mangan completed a two year studio residency at Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, in 2002. He has been awarded numerous international residencies, including Recollets Artist Residency, Paris, 2011 and Australia Council's New York Green Street Residency, 2006. In 2007 he was a recipient of the Anne and Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, resulting in post graduate studies at Universität der Künste in Berlin, Germany.