Cockroach Takeover

by Hugo Desmeules & Hubert Zapalowicz


Cockroach Takeover is a macabre yet humoristic metaphor of the contemporary human. It explores the idea of a distant future where the insects take over the human civilization and conduct experiments through torture on the remaining humans for they have to pay for their ancestor’s crime of insect extermination. As roaches have been on earth before mankind, there’s no doubt they will outlive our era.

A man is lying on a circular pedestal, hands and feet tied up. To his sides, several cockroaches activate switches and sensors as they move around which controls the electroshocks and other behaviours. His heart is pumping faster as he gets electrocuted but slows down to normal pace when no shocks have been delivered for some time.


The viewer has the choice to participate in the experiment by the means of a big industrial button which also triggers the electrocution. After multiple shocks, the tortured man regurgitates bodily fluids.


It is a partly electromechanical, partly organic semi-autonomous interactive installation. A solenoid nicely simulates the heart. A built-in motor with an off-center load makes the vibrating motion simulating electrocution. An internal pump is sometimes activated and provides organic liquid leaks from the man’s mouth (colored water).


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