The creative components of the conference will be woven into the program and are intended to enliven and expand conversations. These will include poetry, photography, fine art, dance and installation work. There will also be a curated group ‘Insecthibition’ themed around the importance of insects in agriculture.
Maya Marshak Art programme curator
Themba Mkhangeli Artist
Sujay Sanan – Visual artist
Xolisa Bangani – Poet
Zayaan Khan Art programme curator
Diana Ocholla – Dancer / Choreographer
Cara Stacey Musician and soundscape artist
Siphokazi Jonas Poet
Amy Rusch Interdisciplinary maker
Neil Rusch – research associate at the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Simon Kohler – music producer and sound artist.
Vanessa Black Researcher, photographer
‘Insecthibition’ will be a buzzing space dedicated to art and discussion about the importance of insects in agriculture and beyond. This space will be open to the public and does not require conference registration.
Discussion Panel: INSECT INTERSECTIONS – Threat or Threatened? 4pm Wednesday 30 January
Exhibition opening: Wednesday the 30 January 6pm
Insects are vital to life on earth and essential for agriculture. As an ancient life form, insects continue to evolve and adapt at rapid rates, providing many lessons in survival.
As industrial agriculture has expanded across the globe, insects have increasingly been treated in a binary fashion, either labeled as ‘pests’ needing to be eradicated or viewed as ‘beneficial insects’ that can be put to work. This binary shapes attitudes towards insects, informing the way we engage with them. Chemical industries have capitalized on ‘pest control solutions’ seen as an essential part of producing enough food for rapidly growing global populations. These methods of farming have contributed to habitat destruction and impacted complex ecological relationships. While some insect populations have come to pose significant threats to yields, many have become extinct while others face extinction.
Insect plagues are part of our collective memory, however this was not the norm in pre-industrial agriculture. These events were seen as portents often carrying messages for the human world. Recent studies have revealed drastic drops in insect populations over the past two decades. At this point in time it is the mass extinction of insects that begs us to question our relationships with them and wider ecosystems.
This exhibition focuses on the importance and wonder of insects. It brings together people who spend time getting to know insects, from artists to farmers and entomologists. It celebrates these tiny and enormously important beings and draws attention to the need to bring them into the conversation about food and life on this planet.