RICE ACADEMY Rice Bug Revolt

“To parasite means to eat next to. “ [The Parasite. Michel Serres, 2007]

The human history of infestations of grains and rice is a story of plague, famine and of revolts and revolutions. Moulds and little bugs can be seen as freeloading or parasiting on essential and ever-dwindling food resources, yet the effects of their invisible invasions mark them as conspirators producing new social forms. The domestication of wild things is always accompanied by a revolution breaking out from within.

The RICE ACADEMY, a collective comprising a rice laboratory from the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, an old rice factory in 池上, Taitung, the mechanical engineers from Tatung University, Taipei and the artists from Mycelium Network Society (shown in Taipei Biennale 2018), focuses on the rice bug as both freeloader/parasite and revolutionary inter-species co-conspirator. RICE ACADEMY attempts to give a voice to the bugs hatching out from within each rice grain, echoing the mass stirring within a mundane and ancient, domestic and global food source. With the bugs, we compose a collective symphony of emerging bug noise, making visible and audible the stages of this interior and microscopic revolution, from latent dormancy, through propagation, to pandemic.

RICE ACADEMY cultures, studies and cultivates rice bugs towards the rice bug revolt. The ACADEMY examines ways of making audible these hidden agents, proposing a series of installations and instruments for collective actions, modelled on grain storage towers with tubes and breakout containers. We borrow techniques from the sciences of management and system control of harmful agricultural insects, checking out high frequency crunchings and low frequency temperature changes, encouraging the inner dynamic revolt.