The Bug III

Project description

The BUG is the centrepiece effigy of Modifyre Festival, Queensland's regional Burning Man event. Built over the course of several months leading up to the event, it provides a focus for the creative efforts of an entire community, involving as many participants as possible in its creation (and destruction).

Responding to the event theme 'Once Upon a Time', the 2017 iteration of the BUG was a fierce Mantis queen, seated atop the BUG BAR, gazing at the moon.

The following event narrative ran throughout the entire five day event, with the unveiling of the effigy coordinated as a large-scale participatory war between rival bug societies: 

Once Upon A Time There was a fort that had lain in ruin for many centuries, since the fall of the ancient empire of the Beatle People. The surrounding lands had been farmed by a number of civilisations, coming and going with the rains and droughts. All the while the fort continued to crumble into the field. Following the self-destruction of the human civilisation, the Social Butterflies had taken over the role of caretakers of the cultivated lands. They had decorated the old fort, draping it in lavish textiles, painting fluoro mandalas on its walls and hanging velvet shade structures around its sides. It had become one of the metaphorical pillars for their sprawling little town – playing host to wild social occasions and a place of refuge for passing party-goers and travellers. One day a large guest arrived in town, a mantis by the name of Sheebamantis. She claimed to be travelling through the land in peace, and of no association to the marauding gang known as the Mantis Militia. After a wild night of debauchery, earning her the nickname ‘Sheen-ba’,the villagers decided to offer up their beloved fort to house her while she was in town. Her large frame loomed above the remains of the fort for many days and strange sounds would pulse across the fields during the night. This was enough to raise the butterfly brows and to start the spiral of speculation in the local rag ‘The B Social Media’. Who was this ghastly creature? Why had she not left the town yet? What about those noises last night? Just how cute was that kitten playing the piano? And so on. The answers soon came, when a number of mantis hatchlings began emerging from the cracks of the old fort. At first some of the less self-obsessed butterflies took pity the new mother and brought her food and drink. In the course of just a few weeks however, the hatchlings had already grown to roughly the same size of the butterflies and began sporting fascist attire, photo-bombing the villagers’ selfies and openly claiming allegiance to the Mantis Militia. It is now harvest festival week and tensions between the two parties are mounting. Will the Social Butterflies bring out their nets in retaliation to the Mantis Militia or will the situation escalate beyond the control of the socialites and clicktavists??


Modifyre Festival


Yelarbon State Forest, QLD


Design - Stirling Blacket

Crew -

Tom Hamlyn (tireless truckie), Cameron Clague (most connected man in Queensland), Andrew Price (Throne Master), William Elliot (Googly Eye Specialist), Vivian Esther Johnston (Belly Weaver and Bug Rider), Zac Lenox / Catfish (Senior Density and Accelerant Consultant), Regan (Tally-ho First Aider), Josh Wilkinson (Maker of Techy and Soundy Things), Ritze Ocsabat and Phil O'Sophie (the best spare Germans in all the land), Maneh Benavides and Adriana Gonzalez Pestana (Pink Bits Decorators), Carlos GA (Sticky Legs Installer), Seán Ó Siochrú and Amy Delphi Richardson (Invaluable Background Doers of All Stuff), Chris Holt / Krishna and Mother Earth (Holy Advice), Kira Went and Josephine Lizzy Green (Immoral Support), Andrew Irvine / Fridge and Marisa Georgiou (Insect War Orchestrator)


Caz Thomas (Caz T Pics)

Lotem Rozen