Studies show that it is becoming increasingly rare for people to experience a diverse insect world in the city. As a result, a willingness among the urban population to contribute to the protection of insect diversity is dwindling. What’s more, the way people live in cities leaves little room for insects. Frankfurt-based ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research and IMD – Institute for Materialdesign at the HfG Offenbach are drawing attention to this situation with an installation that was created in collaboration between science, art and design. With the aim to give recognition to the value of insect diversity, a diplomatic representation for insects will open in the city in July 2023.
“With the Insect Embassy, we are pursuing the goal of resuming diplomatic relations between humans and insects,” says ISOE biodiversity researcher Florian Dirk Schneider. The installation is intended to raise public awareness of how significant insects’ services are for the Earth’s ecosystems, how existential for humans and their comfortable way of life. “Particularly in cities, the importance of insects for safeguarding society's livelihoods is hardly visible,” says Schneider. “Worse, urban lifestyles lead to insects being driven out, excluded and fought against.” In order to bring about a change in this respect, the installation deliberately places insects at the centre of the city, even spatially.
Diplomatic mission is the coexistence of insects and humans
In Frankfurt am Main, the Insect Embassy is created at a place where there is usually no space for insects. On Frankfurt’s Domplatz, it cuts through a space occupied entirely by humans. In the midst of the city, a place for residents and visitors to meet will be created, which at the same time opens up new perspectives on the world of insects and the necessity of coexistence. “By linking science, design and art, we want to draw attention to the existence of insects in urban space and at the same time deal with questions around the topic of how we build and live. How can a city function as a shared habitat for humans and insects?” asks Markus Holzbach, professor of material design at the HfG and director of the IMD – Institute for Materialdesign. “The Insect Embassy aims to show the fascination of the world of insects and thus promote the necessary dialogue in the shared habitat of cities.”
On July 10, the Insect Embassy will open with a vernissage and a welcoming address by Rosemarie Heilig, Head of the Department of the Environment. “With the diplomatic representation for insects, an important contribution to the appreciation of insects in society is being created in the European financial capital Frankfurt.”
About the SLInBio research project
The Insect Embassy is an artistic installation within the framework of the research project “SLInBio – Urban lifestyles and the valorisation of biodiversity”.. Headed by ISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research, research institutes in Frankfurt, together with partners from the field, are investigating the connections between urban lifestyles and insect diversity. The aim is to offer citizens a variety of opportunities to experience insect diversity and participate in its research. SLInBio is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the funding measure “BiodiWert – Valuing and Securing Biodiversity in Politics, Economy and Society” as part of the BMBF’s Research Initiative for Biodiversity Conservation (FEdA). Other research partners are the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt, Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main, NABU Frankfurt am Main e.V., BioFrankfurt – Das Netzwerk für Biodiversität e.V., Palmengarten der Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Grünflächenamt der Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Umweltamt der Stadt Frankfurt am Main, MainÄppelHaus Lohrberg Streuobstzentrum e.V.
The Insect Embassy – a diplomatic representation for insects in the city
Installation by ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research and IMD – Institute for Materialdesign at the Offenbach University of Applied Sciences (HfG)
Duration: from July 10 to August 6, 2023
Location: Plane tree at Domplatz, Markt 1, Frankfurt am Main
Vernissage at 6 p.m. on July 10,2023 at Domplatz, welcoming address by Rosemarie Heilig, Head of the Environment Department of the City of Frankfurt am Main, among others.
Model presentation as part of the tour undertaken by Offenbach University of Applied Sciences (HfG) on July 14, 15 and 16, 2023
Prof. Dr. Markus Holzbach
IMD – Institute for Materialdesign
University of Art HfG Offenbach
63065 Offenbach am Main, Germany
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Installation at the Domplatz in Frankfurt (computer simulation) (© IMD – Institute for Materialdesign of the HfG Offenbach)