15 / 23

The bugs are dipped in alcohol as a preservative before they're shipped, but in order to work with them, Brittain has to soak them in water, which brings out their organic smell. "At that point it's hard to ignore that they're animals," she says. "Sometimes they look so alive, which gives me a wretched pang of sadness — why aren't you walking in a tree? Why are you here? And am I okay with that?" So far she's still not sure, but the work persists nonetheless.