Still image of the GiAnts with a piece of buffalo jerky.

Ethan Turpin and I were intrigued by the idea of projecting imagery of giant white ants. But first, we had to find the right type. After contacting our local entomologist at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, we headed off into the Mojave Desert. At our first stop, we found them – loads them, big black and unaware that we even existed. If either of us put our hand directly over the entrance to their nest they just ignored it as though it were a facet of nature, like a rock.

The process of creating large, white ants involved placing a white piece of paper with a hole in the middle over the entryway to their nest. We then filmed them as they went about their daily routine. We’d brought sugar to see if they’d cluster around it for the camera. It didn’t work. Ethan had some buffalo jerky. The little carnivores took an instant liking to this. In some of the resulting imagery, they wander through the frame clutching what looks like enormous wads of meat that were actually some of the smallest crumbs we could make.

Through the magic of video editing, we flipped the imagery to negative, heavily contrasted it in black and white, added a few more filters for clarity, and now have enormous, indomitable white ants that conquer any place we project them.

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