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PIPORNOT: Superorganismic Upcycling&Mending
October 2021

A study shows that leafcutter ants repair their nests by recycling refuse dump materials. Recycling is rarely seen practiced by social insects because use of discarded materials may cause outbreaks of diseases in their colonies. But in some situations where the benefit of recycling could be greater than its costs, they repair their mound damage during the summer depending on seasonal foraging restrictions.

(Source: “Trash to treasure: leaf-cutting ants repair nest-mound damage by recycling refuse dump material”, Alejandro G. Farji-Brener and Mariana Tadey, Laboratorio Ecotono, CRUB-Universidad del Comahue-INIBIOMA-CONICET (8400) Bariloche, Argentina. Publication 17 September 2021)


With the help of project contributors and participants, aricoco explores upcycling methods to revalue our own human ways to live more sustainable life together, drawing parallels between human societal organization and non-hierarchical social insect systems. 

This project went both virtual and physical:

Virtual programs (Pre-recorded) started with “Arumonotsukau project” (Make-do-with-what-we-have) by Kenneth Mah. He shared his habit of salvaging discarded materials and repairing old electronic devices.

And, interviews with two environmental-conscious visual artists - Rie Hasegawa and Songyi Kim, whose work incorporated discarded objects were also archived.

The featured program was an interview with a scientist - Taylor Harts, whose studies involve with developing methods for generating new varieties of genetically modified ants. She also discussed leafcutter ant nests and their complex waste management systems.

Final virtual program was an interview with Sake/Doburoku specialist, Sarika Seki Hussey. She talked about the sustainability of Doburoku, and touched upon the responsible food production and consumption as stated in UN SDGs.

The first Physical Program - Clothes Swapping session was held at Sustainable Fashion Community Center in East Harlem on October 7th with a guest stylist Cat Schuller's presence. 

The final event culminated in the form of Textile Swap that I hosted at a venue called MIKA in Bushwick, where a slide talk on sustainable fashion and cord-making demo using fabric scraps were presented by the guest sustainable fashion designer and climate activist, Rosie Mae.

This program is made possible by the New York City Artist Corps.

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Physical programs

Swapping session with aricoco at Sustainable Fashion
Community Center
in East Harlem

Thursday, October 7th Noon to 2pm

Guest Stylist: Catherine Schuller

PIPORNOT: Superorganismic Sip & Swap+Style Workshop
@ MIKA (

Guest Artist:

Sustainable Fashion designer

Rosie Mae

Sunday, October 24th 2 - 4pm 

Virtual programs (Pre-recorded)

Japanese Liquer

Doburoku & Sustainability

Interview with

ARUMONOTSUKAU PROJECT (make do with what we have) by Kenneth Mah

Interview with Rie Hasegawa (visual artist/printmaker)
Dish Soap Making Demo by Rie


Click the image below to see the video:

Image: Rie Hasegawa "UNTRASHED",  9"x7" each, Mixed media (Collagraph, drawing, collage and

             chine collé), 2019 - 20 pieces out of the set of 42 are shown here.

About Rie Hasegawa

ears to come_chine colle.jpg

Rie was born in Tokyo, Japan. She received her B.F.A in architecture design from Musashino Art University in 1993. She worked as a painter for a Stage Company before moving to NYC in 2000. She works in a variety of print media including intaglio, relief print, lithograph and monoprint. Her work in printmaking has been locally and internationally exhibited over twenty years.

Rie’s work can be found in the collections of Yale University Art Gallery, New York Public Library, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Harry Ransom Center, among others and various private collections. Rie has also been featured in multiple international newspapers and publications such as Carrier Pigeon Magazine and Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

Rie currently works as a master printer and workshop technician at EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop and has taught various printmaking classes/workshops at New York Academy of Art, Women’s Studio Workshop, and MoMA’s education center among others. As a master printer she has collaborated on editions and provided technical assistance to over 70 artists. Artist collaborators include Zarina Hashmi, and Alexandra Bell.

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Image: Rie Hasegawa,  “EARS TO COME” ,12" x 10¼", Drypoint with

             chine colle and embossment, 2019

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Interview with Songyi Kim (visual artist)
"Packaging material transformation" Mini Workshop by Songyi

Click the image below to see the video:


Image: Songy Kim, Party Table no.4 (installation view), Found objects, granite tiles, art studio/class scraps, foil sheet, glitter, acrylic, graphite & marker on vinyl sheet, 2020

About Songyi Kim


Songyi Kim is a visual artist born in Seoul, Korea, living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She studied at Seoul National University and received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University.


Kim pays attention to discarded and unwanted materials from artists’ studios and domestic environments dealing with the ‘useless’ matter in a world where ‘useful or valuable’ materials are preferred.


Her works have been featured in numerous exhibitions including at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Dorsky Gallery and Tiger Strikes Asteroid in New York. Her residencies include the Blackburn Printmaking Workshop Fellowship, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and the Henry Street Settlement, among others.

Kim’s work, shown across the globe, may also be found in the Deutsche Bank Art Collection. 

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Image: Songy Kim, ​Packing Dept. series, Paint & mixed media on recycled packing materials, 2021 

What we made at the mini workshop...


Songyi Kim, Lemon Squeezing Pond, Mixed media on discarded styrofoam


aricoco, After-MoonFestival Madness, Mixed media on salvaged
plastic container

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