CMA Stories

“We have to be willing to change our attitudes about what we eat and how we get our food” — 5 Minutes with Artists Jude Tallichet and Adam Chad Brody

CMA’s Bridge is alive with the sights and sounds of a live cricket farm! Artists Jude Tallichet and Adam Chad Brody created a site-specific installation, Love Crickets, Save the Planet, that invites visitors to consider how crickets are a vital part of the ecosystem that sustains our collective home — Earth! Get to know Jude below.

Please introduce yourselves and tell us how your cricket farm began.
I am a visual artist who began a cricket farm with my friend Adam Brody about three years ago. We wanted to do a collaborative project that was both nurturing and political, and raised questions about food systems. Both of us had previous experiences on ranches with large animals.  Now our creatures have six legs!

What is your favorite fact about crickets?
Having crickets around brings good luck. My second favorite fact is that the tiny eggs hatch as fully formed pin-head sized crickets!

Museum visitors were recently treated to a cricket concert, where crickets provided the background sound, both of you played instruments, and children played along using wooden cricket instruments. At what point and why did you begin to think of crickets as fellow composers? What genre of music does their sound most resemble?
Crickets sound so good  — the sound is lovely like summer evenings!  We figured crickets are hard at work making this song, so we should respect their effort and collaborate. I think the genre of music the chirps most resemble is techno / trance / country.

Food equality is a growing worldwide concern. Limited subsidies for independent American farmers, the environmental and financial impact of transporting food long distances, and the growing cost of high quality food are indicators that we need to rethink how we grow, sell, and consume food in the 21st century. How can harvesting crickets and other bugs address these issues?
Raising edible bugs cost very little, can be a lot of fun, and is great for the environment! We have to be willing to change our attitudes about what we eat and how we get our food. Everyone could have a small cricket farm in their home — we want to get folks interested. We have been trying to get funding and space for a small cricket farm hub, where crickets could be raised and sold for very little. We could offer cricket powder and other high protein options, all the while keeping it extremely local.

New Yorkers spend a lot of time trying to keep rodents, mice, and bugs out of their homes and workplaces. What can we do to change our thinking about these critters and start viewing them as friends rather than foes?
We do want to keep rodents, flies, and roaches out of our homes, and we know how to do that effectively. Many insects (butterflies, bees, beetles, crickets) have been steadily declining over the last last thirty years. We share the planet with these creatures, and must protect the biomass if we can.  I have to admit that after raising crickets I feel a little sympathy towards roaches, in that I’ll throw them outside if I can capture them, and I’m not as startled when I see one.

If crickets could speak, how would they define “home”?
Home is where the hearth is!

Do you have a favorite quote about “home” from a movie, book, or song?
That would have to be from the iconic movie The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy says, “And this is my room, and you’re all here. And I’m not gonna leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all.”

What do you think makes “home” feel like a unique concept as a New Yorker?
When I hear the L train rumble underground at night when I’m trying to go to sleep.

Love Crickets, Save the Planet is on view through May 3, 2020.

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