4.7.08

Romeo Lee and Battlefield Insectizoid

BY MADS BAJARIAS | In another bout of idleness, I found myself in the mag:net galleries and drawn to Romeo Lee’s entomological tripfest “Oh! Sama Kasama Snow White.”

Lately, I’ve seen a rise in matters entomological in the media. First off, there’s the buzz about bees mysteriously disappearing around the globe. The phenomenon is so widespread that scientists have created a phrase for it: Colony Collapse Disorder. Among the possible culprits being investigated are global warming, pesticides and electromagnetic radiation. Yes, your cell phone could be killing the bees and keeping nice flowers from being pollinated.

A recent issue of TIME Magazine had a story about Colony Collapse Disorder. It seems the bee population crash has reached crisis levels in some parts of China forcing orchard owners to use human-assisted pollination—having workers painstakingly hand-brush pollen to individual flowers. This seems like a fun job except when you have to get on a ladder to reach individual pistils on a shaky branch 15 feet off the ground.

Then there's one scene in M. Night Shyamalan’s most recent movie, “The Happening,” where a quotation could be seen on the blackboard of Mark Wahlberg’s character’s classroom. The quote, attributed to Albert Einstein, states that humans can only survive a few months if bees were to disappear off the face of the planet. This quote spread around cyberspace and at one point was used for a Discovery Channel advert. The problem is that no one has proved Einstein really did say or write that statement.

In any case, speaking of Hollywood bugs, flies made an appearance in “Wanted,” the Angelina Jolie splatterfest. The new recruit played by James McAvoy was instructed by godhead Morgan Freeman to shoot the wings off the flies to prove his worth as a killer. Of course!

Then there's Isabella Rossellini doing bug porn with "Green Porno," a series of short films she wrote, produced and acted in about the sex lives of our buggy friends.

And lest we forget: Insects in the War Against Terror. The Pentagon is said to be pursuing the possibility of insect-like nano-robots to hunt down terrorists. And while there's friendly bugs, there's enemy bugs. It's been reported that the US military has been spending tens of millions of dollars in developing pesticide-laced military uniforms that can help protect their wearers against sand fleas. It's not only the Taliban that has been hassling the remnants of the Coalition of the Willing, but millions of tiny blood-sucking parasites.

This brings us to Osama bin Laden, who makes a cameo as a kind of three-faced deity in Lee’s canvas.

What's Lee up to? Is there an environmental theme here? Is he equating bin Laden's elusiveness with the mystery of the vanishing bees? Is he lumping bin Laden with Snow White and the duck that's officiating the civil union between mutant flies (fictional creatures all)? And what are the seven dwarfs finding so interesting in the crotch area of the robed duck-minister? Best maybe not to go there.

Who the hell knows what Lee is up to. But a giant-insect marriage officiated by one of Scrooge McDuck's nephews while enveloped in a blob with leech-like mouth parts and surrounded by candy-colored dots (happy pills?) under the benign gaze of a three-faced bin Laden sure looks fun.

Who knows what Lee is up to here, but he's having a good time.

UPDATE: Someone just sent me a link to some awesome photos of ugly bugs that somehow remind me a bit of Lee's adorable duo above.

1 comment:

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