Mike Libby (b 1976), creator of INSECT LAB since 1999, is a multi-disciplinary artist who makes sculptures, models, collages and drawings using diverse materials, conceptual curiosity, and diligent craftsmanship to balance it all. Mike exhibits throughout the US and in parts of Europe, his work is in collections national and worldwide. He enjoys being an active member of his local community in Southern Maine as a visiting artist at several educational institutions, an entrepreneur and an advocate for personal and social creativity.
Robot-like insects and insect-like robots are the stuff of science fiction and science fact.
Often in science fiction, insects are frequently featured as robotic critters. There are many examples in TV, movies, video games, comic books, even on album covers. From Cronos to The Golden Compass, the insect/robot archetype has been used, re-used and re-imagined countless times.
Both biologists and engineers look to insect movement, design and social behavior to inspire new technology and applications. Some of the most advanced aircraft is smaller than a dragonfly, and NASA scientists are making walking rovers and “swarm theory” probes for planetary exploration. Technology is finding that the most efficient design features comes from natural systems.
Over time and ironically, this technology closely resembles the musings of science fiction.
This hybridization of from both fields, is where Insect Lab borrows from. Insect Lab celebrates these correspondences and contradictions. The work does not intend to function, but playfully and slyly insists that it possibly could.
How did insect lab begin?
One day I found a dead intact beetle. I then located an old wristwatch, thinking of how the beetle also operated and looked like a little mechanical device and so decided to combine the two. After some time dissecting the beetle and outfitting it with watch parts and gears, I had a nice little sculpture.