‘Gramophone Weevil’, made in 2010, is one of a series of sculptures combining my interests in Zoology and woodcarving. The entire piece was made from timber collected, with permission, from Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire. The ‘vinyl’ is actually charcoal dust cast in resin. It’s the size of a 12″ disc and in case you are wondering, I haven’t tried playing it!
This sculpture imagines a world many years from now. Modified insects, produced for a particular short-lived role, are easier to come by than scarce, delicate vinyl records. This creature has been engineered and produced to play records until it needs to be replaced. The mouthparts are purely adapted to hold the needle that plays the vinyl, as it doesn’t have to feed to perform its function.
The sculpture reflects my concerns about the ethics of some contemporary research projects (specifically the US Defence Department’s HI-MEMS project), which seek to engineer insects into tools for human use. Considering how much longer insects have been around on this planet, success in such endeavours would also seem unlikely to end well for humans in general.
This particular piece was also partly inspired by the amazing VW camper record player in Money Mark’s ‘Hand in your Head’ music video.