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Friday, January 27, 2023

UF students create art with bugs, competing for $500

<p dir="ltr"><span>A micro-CT image of a scanned jumping spider, called Anasaitis canosa.&nbsp;</span></p>

A micro-CT image of a scanned jumping spider, called Anasaitis canosa. 


Six UF students are combing through campus for art — in the form of ants and spiders.

“We then freeze them, put them in alcohol and wait a few hours to put them in the scanner,” said Ediel Dominguez, a UF art senior who is helping put together a contest for students to turn ants and spiders into masterpieces.

The Insects Live competition, organized by faculty members Lisa Taylor and Andrea Lucky of UF’s entomology and nematology department, asks participants to use the students’ 3-D insect scans as the basis for their art.

A panel of judges will select a winner for a $500 cash prize, and after the event, an exhibit will feature all of the students artwork, said Dominguez, a team member working to put together the contest.

To create the art, students will have access to scans of the ants and spiders uploaded onto Canvas, said Dominguez, 26. When registered, students will have access to $15 worth of free 3-D printing at Marston Science Library to bring the creatures to life.

“It’s really nice because you never have to pay for the contest, and all of the software you need are free through the university,” Dominguez said. “All of the really expensive software, which is usually around thousands of dollars, is completely free for students to use.”

Taylor, who collaborated with Lucky to begin this contest, said it’s open to students of all majors. Submissions are due on March 15.

“We are inspired by the diversity of talent and resources on UF’s campus,” Taylor said. “This contest is just a place where students can put this talent to work.”

To teach students how to use the 3-D printers and scanners necessary to make the artwork, Taylor and Lucky employed a team of six undergraduates, who are also collecting the insects.

Taylor said that the contest challenges students to combine art, science and technology. She hopes that the best submissions can somehow be turned into permanent artwork on campus.

“With all of the brilliant and creative students on campus, we have no idea what this artwork will look like,” Taylor said. “We are eager to see what students come up with.”

A micro-CT image of a scanned jumping spider, called Anasaitis canosa. 

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