Artistic research

Experience art – appreciate biodiversity? Dance performance on the importance of insects in the city

Insect biodiversity is essential for life on our planet. However, this diversity is acutely threatened by changes in land use. At the same time, we can observe that cities have become places of refuge for insects. The Frankfurt research project “SLInBio” is examining how our lifestyles are linked to the decline in insect diversity and how we can improve the living conditions for insects. In this context, artistic formats have been playing an increasingly important role in raising awareness. In this vein, a public dance performance will be presented in June and July that was created as part of the project.

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"Mottenmensch" (illustration of the performance: Nina Queissner & Frithjof Mohr, based on a photo by Christin Picard)

Earlier this year, ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research has awarded a project grant for the development and realization of an artistic work under the title “Insectopolis”. Out of sixty applications, an interdisciplinary jury selected Anno Bolender's project draft “I don't hear Bugs in the City – A choreographic reminder of the small creatures among us”.

Anno Bolender works regionally and internationally and explores the overlapping areas of social and political issues from an artistic point of view. Within the framework of the grant, the researchers involved in the project as well as interested citizens have participated in the development of a choreography over the past few weeks: In participatory workshops, the relation between humans and insects within an urban space was explored and physical ways were found to depict the situation. Inspired by composer Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening method, Bolender guided the workshop participants to discover the movement potential of their own bodies. From this, Anno Bolender developed a solo performance that offers the audience an aesthetically diverse experience of the topic of “insects in the city” and is intended to remind them of the “small creatures among us”. In June and July, this performance will be shown at various public locations in Frankfurt and Offenbach.“We are delighted to be able to offer Frankfurt's urban society this artistic approach to insect diversity in the city,” emphasizes Marion Mehring from ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research. She is head of the research project “SLInBio – Urban lifestyles and the valorization of biodiversity”, as part of which the project grant was awarded. “The jury was particularly impressed by Anno Bolender’s participatory approach, since such artistic expressions can help to develop a new perspective on the world of insects. And this is urgently needed in order to develop an awareness of the importance of insects and to counteract insect extinction.”

The performance will be shown on the following dates 

  • Premiere: Friday, June 28, 6:30 pm, Campus Bockenheim, Jügelstraße, central square between Mensa and Juridicum (in case of bad weather in the Festsaal in the Studierendenhaus)
  • Monday, July 8, 5:30 pm, Grüneburgpark, meadow at the Park Café, August-Siebert-Straße, 60323 Frankfurt am Main (followed by a discussion with the audience) 
  • Wednesday, July 10, 6:00 pm, Bornheimer Fünffingerplätzchen
  • Saturday, July 13, 9:30 pm, Hugenottenplatz Offenbach 

For more information information about the “Insectopolis” project grant please go to:  

The project “SLInBio – Urban lifestyles and the valorization of biodiversity: dragonflies, grasshoppers, bumblebees and co.” is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the funding measure “BiodiWert – Appreciation and safeguarding of biodiversity in politics, business and society” and is embedded in the BMBF Research Initiative for the Conservation of Biodiversity (FEdA). Further information:

Scientific contact:

Dr. Florian Dirk Schneider
Tel. +49 69 707 6919-71  

Press contact:

Dr. Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart
Tel. +49 69 707 6919-30