Without a doubt, your first question is “What is Zombie Ant?” It’s a zine, and it’s coming to get you.
Zombie ants, for those not aware, are real. They are ants that have been infected with a parasitic fungus. The fungus forces the ants to change their behavior and perform an involuntary death march on their way to fulfilling what will be their final act—raining infectious spores down upon their own colony, perpetuating this bizarre but brilliant coup. For years researchers studying this phenomenon assumed the fungus infiltrated the ant’s brain in order to take control of the ant’s body. New studies suggest this may not be the case but rather that the fungus commandeers the ant’s muscular and skeletal structures directly leaving their brains intact, potentially even relying on sensory information processed through the ant’s brain to optimize timing of the release of their lethal spore bloom. What this means is zombie ants are something more sinister than a zombie; they are sentient zombies. They are fully lucid and capable of comprehending everything they do but powerless to stop themselves. With their insides consumed by the fungus, their life as an ant ends; they are reborn as a shower of spores floating through the air with abandon. Desiccated exoskeletons, still clamping leaf stems, mark the exact place where zombie ants completed their transformation into agents of their own demise.
Exquisite horror aside, in many ways this ant is an allegory for the way we all have been changed, co-opted by exposure to what was once foreign. Compelled by a new idea, a provocative argument, a different perspective, we undergo a kind of alteration, where we are not just built-upon, but often are actively opposed to our former selves. Fundamentally different, we move through this world guided only by what we have been exposed to. Each new exposure, an opportunity to be changed, to change another.
Zombie Ant is a publication that is driven to spread change through content that disrupts the ease of the mundane. Becoming a zombie ant is an act of self-preservation through transformation. Resistance to it is not an act of salvation, but an act of desperation. An ant will always do that which will preserve the colony, but it does so at its own expense. Zombie ants are not a threat to ants. They are a threat to colonies, a contradiction of self-preserving mindsets, and the antidote to stasis. You will be changed, and your mind will follow.