“I don’t hear Bugs in the City” – A choreographic reminder of the small creatures among us

How can art and science cooperate to realign the relationship between insects and humans?

Inspired by the nuances of everyday encounters between insects and humans, Anno Bolender's solo performance creates an extraordinary visual and sonic experience. Bolender's artistic research uses the medium of dance to look at the topic of co-existence with the insect world through the prism of the body. The performance was created as part of the transdisciplinary project grant “Insectopolis”, which has been awarded to Anno Bolender by ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research.

The dance performance will be shown on the following dates:

  • Premiere: Friday, June 28, 2024, 6:30 pm, Campus Bockenheim
    Jügelstraße, central square between Mensa and Juridicum, 60325 Frankfurt a.M. (in case of bad weather in the “Festsaal”, “Studierendenhaus”)
  • Monday, July 8, 2024, 5:30 p.m., Grüneburgpark, meadow at the park café
    August-Siebert-Straße, 60323 Frankfurt a.M., (The performance will be shown as part of the Citizens' University, followed by adiscussion with the audience)
  • Wednesday, July 10, 6:00 pm, Bornheimer Fünffingerplätzchen, 60385 Frankfurt a.M.
  • Saturday, July 13, 9:30 pm, Hugenottenplatz, 63065 Offenbach

Flyer for download


Anno Bolender, 2024
Artistic curation: Nina Queissner
Scientific curation: Florian D. Schneider
Costume: Isabella Koeters
Sound composition: Cat Woywod
Media and public relations work: Verena Rossow, Dominik Opalka, Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart, Melanie Neugart, Pia Ditscher
Photography: Christin Picard
Video: Balduin Mund
Dramaturgy: Nicole Berns
Cover motif: Nina Queissner and Frithjof Mohr
Lettering 'Insectopolis': Christoph Tim Schneider
Flyer design: Iris Dresler

We would like to thank the jury members Ellen Wagner, Brigitte Franzen, Patricia Germandi, Nina Reichert, Carolin Sommer, Bina Perl, Marion Mehring, Lukas Sattlegger, Melina Stein, Deike Lüdtke, Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart, Verena Rossow and all other researchers of the SLInBio project. Thanks also go to Bina Perl, Carolin Sommer, Nikolai Ignatev and Massimo Terragni for the exciting guided tour through the entomological collections of Senckenberg , to Lasse-Marc Riek for advice on the soundscape of insects and for providing insect sounds as well as to Hilke Steinecke for providing insights into the diversity of insects in Palmengarten Frankfurt.

Weiterhin bedanken wir uns beim Offenen Haus der Kulturen und dem AStA Frankfurt für die Zusammenarbeit; Dörthe Krohn und der Naxos Halle zur Bereitstellung von Räumen und dem Immobilienservice der Universität.

Herzlichen Dank an alle Workshop-Teilnehmer*innen und an die Kinder der Klasse Flex-C und ihrer Lehrerin Lisa Hagenauer von der Freiherr-vom-Stein Schule in Rodgau-Dudenhofen für den Diskurs und die Inspiration.

Dank auch an alle Künstler*innen für die Einsendungen ihrer Projektskizzen für das Projektstipendium ‚Insectopolis‘.

Gefördert vom Kulturamt der Stadt Frankfurt am Main


Artist Anno Bolender receives the “INSECTOPOLIS” project grant

Anno Bolender developed performance as part of the “Insectopolis” project grant, which was awarded in spring 2024 by ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research for the development and realization of an artistic work for the public space in Frankfurt am Main. The grant is part of the research project “SLInBio – Urban lifestyles and the valorization of biodiversity”.

Anno Bolender convinced the jury with his project design “I don't hear Bugs in the City – A choreographic reminder of the small creatures among us”.

Portrait: Anno Bolender

Anno Bolender is a performance and dance artist, producer and activist who deals with the social and political concerns of communities affected by marginalization. Bolender combines theory and practice to promote the development of a more solidarity-based society. Bolender’s works have been shown in Frankfurt, Offenbach, Porto, Madrid, Bochum, Stuttgart, and at the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin.

How did you approach the topic of insects in the city as a dancer and choreographer?

“Dancing is first and foremost movement. The contact improvisation dancer Steve Paxton coined the term “small dance” meaning movements that your whole body makes, even when you think you're standing still. But a living body never stands still. Our bodies are always in motion, they are continuously “dancing” at all times. And the same goes for our living environment: There are small movements all around us. I find that to be a fascinating and beautiful approach to the world. Everything around us is alive, so to say dancing, all the time. But we tend to forget that far too often. In a crowded world such as ours, we take notice mainly of re the biggest and the loudest things. Yet every movement, no matter how quiet and small, is incredibly important. My idea is therefore to choreographically amplify these small, inconspicuous movements, which are no less important, but perhaps even much more basic and profound, and to make them heard. If you listen and look around carefully, you can experience so much beauty.”

How can humans and insects find a better co-existence?

“I think we humans – mind and body – need to learn again that we are just a tiny part of our ecosystem. I get the impression that we behave as if none of our environment can affect us: neither the climate and biodiversity crisis, nor the floods or the insect extinction. But we know that it does. I am saying: We need to realize our connectedness again, to transform this knowledge into embodied knowledge, and we have to learn anew to actually feel this knowledge as well. We have to get angry when we hear that 75% of insects have disappeared in just three decades. We need to grieve when it comes to what this means for us. We need to relearn the fascination, enthusiasm and gratitude that we have for these creatures. Only then will we really want to change something about this situation.”

What kind of insights do you expect from your artistic research, being primarily concerned with the sound of insects? What role does one’s own body play in this?

“Our own body is a resonance chamber for what we experience every day, for our relationships with other people and with our environment. Adrienne Maree Brown speaks of “fractals” – patterns that reflect on a small scale what happens on a larger scale. Of course, I can't stop insect extinction with my performative research. But my research always arises in a collective confrontation with other bodies and entities (in this work, it will also be the sonic waves that bodies make). In the preparatory workshops, we will explore together on a small scale what might be required on a larger scale: really listening, comprehending movements, dissolving categories such as “small” and “big” – and all this with our own bodies. We need to use our bodies to begin to understand, immerse ourselves and transform our knowledge, experiences and memories into embodied knowledge.”


SLInBio is financed by the BMBF as part of the funding program “BiodiWert – Appreciating and safeguarding biodiversity in politics, business and society” within BMBF's Research Initiative for the Conservation of Biodiversity (FEdA).




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