Erin Espelie

Tenebrio molitor

2019, 5 minutes, HD video, color and B&W, sound

Tenebrio 3
Premiere at the Egyptian Theater with the L.A. Film Forum

A film for A.R. Ammons, author of Garbage: A Poem (1993), and baculovirologist Lois Miller. 10 quintillion insects live on the planet—that is, 300 pounds of insects for every pound of human flesh. They drive decomposition, dissolution, and decay that makes way for the new. Specifically, darkling beetle larvae, Tenebrio molitor (roughly translated as "death spirits" and "millers"), better known as yellow mealworms, are capable of digesting Styrofoam by way of their gut microbiome, biodegrading the plastic waste into carbon and hydrogen. Their lives run counter to ours, which revolve around accumulation and accretion.