Ashton S. Phillips


June 5th Audioscapes

VBODOBV | dEvolution: Au Naturel


Proposed work as accepted for soundpedro 2021:
Hunger (Engine)
I propose a sound-oriented presentation of Hunger – an experimental project exploring the life cycle of the greater wax “worm” (galleria mellonella) and its ecologically unique ability to biodegrade microplastic, as a poetic, sculptural and sonic performance. Hunger will include a cycle of 4 Phases or Acts, each of which will be recorded with sound and video equipment. 

Phase 1 will consist of harvesting invisible microplastics from local waterways, using an electrostatic filtration system, a shovel, a broom, and a little physical effort. In Phase 2, I will cast the harvested microplastic debris into simple sculptural forms or bodies using beeswax and honey as a binder. In Phase 3, I will construct a vivarium, using recycled windows, with one chamber for the larval and cocooning stages of galleria mellonella and another chamber for the reproductive moth stage. In Phase 4, I will place the microplastic objects into the larval chamber as food. The larvae will consume the plastic and convert the fuel locked within it into energy for metamorphosis, flight, and reproduction. 

Option 1: A live installation of the vivarium in a low-light space, illuminated by worm-friendly red light with a projected composition of sounds collected during the development of Hunger (e.g., the sounds of sifting sand as microplastics are extracted; the sounds of larvae eating the microplastics, sounds gathered near waterways, including the Los Angeles River and the Long Beach harbor).

Hunger (Objects)
Option 2: An indoor or outdoor exhibition of partially-consumed, cast microplastic and wax objects from the Hunger cycle, projecting a freeform composition of sounds gathered in the construction of this object, including the sounds from the harvesting of the microplastics and sounds of the galleria mellonella consuming it. 

Option 3: A poetic video and sound composition that could be shared virtually or projected outdoors, composed using imagery and audio gathered in the process of constructing the vivarium, including a worm’s-eye-view video.

Return to Artists 2021 page

Ashton S. Phillips is an interdisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. He was born near the sea in Boston, MA, but grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, aka “Chemical Valley.” Some of his earliest memories include watching the sky transform from black to pink each night, as the atmosphere filled with pollution from nearby factories. Ashton is a current MFA candidate at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Recent exhibitions include Rewilding Structures at the Torrance Art Museum and Reflections, a participatory sound and land art installation commissioned by the Glendale Arts and Culture Commission for Glendale Central Park.

Artist Location: Long Beach, CA

Social Media:

Posted in Artists 2021.