Sunday, August 9, 2009

Insect Lab

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster."

Oh, Steve Austin. Sure, our parents' generation had Bonanza and Rawhide defining what it was to be a man; that rugged, horse-riding Marlborough Man of a man, tough when he had to be and gentle only to his mama, with calloused hands and weathered features. Thankfully by the time I rolled out and around, Lee Majors was already running around in that red tracksuit with a sound effect that none of us who watched the show will ever forget and were most likely emulating on the playground (dje-je-je-je-je-je!!!).

One of my first imperatives was the acquisition of the Bionic Man Doll (sorry folks, Action figures, for all their impressive accessories, are still dolls), featuring the amazing roll-back skin on his arm that revealed the 'bionic' components beneath, and don't even get me started on how amazing it was that you could look through the back of his head and see via his 'bionic eye'.

It's funny (ha ha) how much childhood obsessions carry through into adulthood. When I first saw Mike Libby's Insect Lab specimens my eyes widened, my jaw dropped, and the same sense of excitement filled my stomach as the first time I saw the Bionic Man in his box. And I'm afraid that while the Bionic Man will always have the nostalgia factor behind him, these amazing specimens put my old doll to shame.

Borrowing from science fiction and fact, Insect Lab customizes real insect specimens with antique watch parts and other technological components. From ladybugs to grasshoppers, each is individually hand adorned, and original- a unique celebration of the contradictions and confluences between nature and technology. The pieces aren't intended to function, but playfully and slyly insist that they could. For me the most difficult time will be when I have to relinquish the illusion that they're mine and watch as some lucky customer takes them home. See the available pieces listed in our webshop

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