It started as the idea of a 3D zine. A cereal box whose container would provide insightful literature rather than commercial propaganda on the breakfast table in the early morning. Its 6 faces would of course limit the length of the content, but its visibility/usefulness as a breakfast tool would expose it more than any booklet zine.
The artists I contacted as sources of lyrical material to be published were poets, and their style and themes of work were less on the bright side of things, more on disgust, death, violence, and urban losses. As I wanted to create a cereal recipe inside it that would portray the writings in aromas, textures, and ingredients, it had to be repulsive, but still delicious. Insects were the answer to this problematic.
Insects are now in fashion for a new sustainable way of eating. With five time for protein input than beef for an equal product weight and faster and less expensive prodution, crickets farms are booming this year everywhere in the Québec province. I wrote to the new company Naak, the cricket-flour protein bar for athletes and went to the Insecto farm, in Hochelaga/Centre-Sud neighbourhood for advices and material.
Ethical discussions took place with the use of these small insects: Animal rights, MAPAQ rules, the right to sell the cereal boxes.
I made a design for a cereal box based on the dimension of the kids Kellogg's mini-boxes sold in package of 8. The content was created from the combination of various cereals mixes from Tau grocery store, fitting the two tyes of insects we would have inside of two "brands": Crickets Crisp and Wonder Worms. For the literature, I used 3 short poems from Julien Bouthillier of the Cereals series and a excerpt from Mathieu Renaud poetry book Ver Blancs d'Amérique (éditions de l'Écrou). The visuals were rough, connected to the idea of the first zines, self published and printed.
I went to pet shop to purchase the insects and to the Insecto farm. The crickets in plastic containers with holes were singing in my bag at the printing shop. The clerks were wondering what was happening.
We filmed a short commercial video to present the two cereal boxes in Lorimier park in our neighbourhood. Live insects were used for this presentation. We therefore used a second-hand camping tent to contain them during the filming. By the end of this filming with cameraman Julien Bouthillier et project helper and animal trainer Vijay Karthik, the crickets were climbing on our legs and arms. I was happy that I had done a lot of mental preparation to stay calm for this performance.
Crickets are not invasive species, therefore on the 150 live insects we had, 115 were set free in the park Lorimier and in my backyard. They sing every night since then.
The video will be edited and published in the week to come.