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This site is dedicated to Pestival 2009 at London’s Southbank Centre.
Pestival 2009 is over now – many thanks to all our collaborators, and to the 200,000 people who came along over the weekend to support the insects. A marvellous job all round and a great way of spreading the word that, without insects, humans couldn’t survive.
Please check this website for news on the journey of the Termite Pavilion, which is now heading from the Southbank to London Zoo and will be on display there from September 25th. Also, look out for further artist films on our Youtube channel, and watch as the Pestival gallery fills up with photos of this year’s projects.
Here’s a memorable moment from this year’s Pestival: Noboru Tsubaki in performance as Moonwalker vegetable wasp
Here’s some more time-lapse footage of the marvelous Termite Pavilion, revealing quite how dramatic it looked when lit up in the evening.
Noboru Tsubaki talks about the ideas behind his Moonwalker Vegetable Wasp creation at Pestival 2009. The project was conceived before Michael Jackson’s death in the summer, and Tsubaki reveals how his shock and sadness fed back into the artwork.
Watch the centre-piece of this year’s Pestival – the Termite Pavilion – being put together layer by layer in this time lapse film.
Park Light Pictures have made a short film to accompany Mark Cockram’s beautiful art work that was displayed at the Pestival:
You can now get Pestival listings on your mobile phone. Just point your phone’s browser to this address: http://pestival.bxs.mobi
Tradition goes that booklovers have a fraught relationship with insects, as booklice are known to happily munch away on the paste that is used in binding. However, one bookbinder has decided to extend the hand of friendship to insects and let them positively devour his works. Mark Cockram has spent this summer smearing books with Bovril and burying them in the garden of his studio, as he is fascinated with the process of returning paper back to the earth, and he delights in the homes and meals that insects make of his books.
The unearthed books will be on display over the course of Pestival 2009. Read more of Mark’s book-burying experiments on his blog here.
Exciting news: the centre-piece of Pestival 2009 is due to arrive on site this Monday! The Termite Pavilion is a six square metre walk-in structure inspired by the inside of a Namibian termite mound, and will allow Pestival goers a unique insight into these extraordinary organic forms.
The piece is in part based on the pioneering work of Dr Rupert Soar and the TERMES project, a team of international experts based in Namibia who have created the first ever 3D scans of termite mounds. Their findings have been a embraced by entomologists and architects alike, and have featured in Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Life in the Undergrowth’ series.
For the Termite Pavilion, a team of architects and engineers selected a central section a termite mound scan and scaled it up to a size which would allow humans to move through it. The structure will arrive in kit form, to be put together on site. It is made of cross laminated timber, sourced from Austrain spruce, for reasons of sutainability, durability and cost.
The Termite Pavilion is an art and science collaboration between Softroom Architects, Freeform Engineering, Atelier One, Chris Watson, Haberdasherylondon, KLH and Pestival.
Artist Suisse Marocain can be seen here painting Pestival tents in the National Theatres’ famous ‘paintframe’ (scenic painting department). He is just one of the many artists who are preparing their work on site in time for the opening on September 4th.
We are delighted to announce that Roger Highfield will be chairing Pestival’s ‘How Insect Are We?’ Symposium . Highfield was the Daily Telegraph’s science editor for two decades and is currently editor of the New Scientist. He has written numerous books, including The Arrow of Time and After Dolly, and is a regular contributor to BBC radio science shows such as Leading Edge. What’s more he is, by his own account, the “first person to bounce a neutron off a soap bubble”!
The Pestival Symposium takes place on September 3rd at ZSL London Zoo. Tickets are on sale now – go to the Symposium page to order yours.
Tweehive is a Twitter-based mass role play experiment in which you tweet as a bee. You can follow the threads as they come in thick and fast today:
If you would like to join in with the hive, here’s a few tips on how to get started:
- Change your profile pic to a bee for the day
- Get into character. Are you a drone, a worker or a mere larva? What would your bee be doing through the day?
- Check the #tweehive stream, interact with other bees & generally enjoy the buzz
- Follow @tweehive – there are guest queen bees including Alison Benjamin
The next Tweehive days are 7th August and 5th September.
Our Beecab has emerged and is now buzzing around the streets of London!
Beecab is a London taxi which has been specially customized by artists and scientists for Pestival. It recently featured on London Tonight, and was launched from the Wellcome Trust on Thursday 18th June.
The theme of this year’s Pestival is the collapse of bee colonies around the world. To raise awareness of the plight of bees, one of London’s iconic black cabs has been transformed into a bumblebee in full flight, complete with a working beehive in the front seat. Keep a look out for this spectacular sight, which will be traveling around London and visiting schools from now until the festival opens in September.
The Beecab’s driver is Steve Benbow, a British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) beekeeper himself. Steve notes the aptness of the Beecab: “Bees and cabbies have more in common than you might think – the way bees navigate is very similar to the way cab drivers use the Knowledge to get round London. They both service the city, and with the Varroa mite wiping out wild colonies of bees, urban beekeeping is more important than ever. Bees are vital for the pollination of flowers and fruit in the capital, and beekeepers are the only way the population of honey bees can be maintained in London.”
Dr Pat Goodwin, Head of Pathogens, Immunology and Population Health at the Wellcome Trust, said: “The decline in bees and other pollinators may devastate our environment and would almost certainly have a serious impact on our health and wellbeing. As well as funding research into the reasons behind the decline in pollinators, the Wellcome Trust is delighted to be supporting Pestival, which will engage everyone with the vital role insects play in maintaining our way of life.”
Pestival has its first round table discussion about the making of the Termite Pavilion, the ambitious centrepiece of the festival. Pictured here are Chris Watson, Chris Bagot and Mike from Softroom, Patrick Bellew and Steph Fudge.
Chris Bagot and Daniel Bosia (from consultant engineer firm Ove Arups) chat about the termite project at the first meeting.
The Pestival team and architect behind the Termite Pavilion Chris Bagot presented their model to Southbank Centre’s artistic director Jude Kelly, who thought it was ‘really great and a brilliant message’. Below: Jude Kelly admires the model of the Termite Pavilion.
Green media guru John Grant is seen here presenting his concept Tweehive, Pestival’s new media outreach now launched on tweehive.com. The idea of Tweehive is for humans to recreate the day to day activities of a bee colony via role play on Twitter, and the aim is to increase bee awareness, as well as awareness of Pestival!
Yes -designs are well underway to have Londons first beecab on the road by June.
We all know how hard blackcab drivers work, collecting londoners and dropping them off at the right destination. It seems blackcabbies and bees both have ‘the knowledge’ when it comes to navigating their way around? Well yet again blackcab drivers are supporting the infrastructure of the city and are right behind our campaign to promote urban beekeeping here in the heart of the city at a time when bees need all the support they can get
Calling all insect workers, educationalists, artists and budding naturalists. We need enthusiastic and sociable people to help out at Pestival 2009 . Reasonable out of pocket expenses paid.
We need explainers, marshals, humpers and all round good eggs!
Pestival 2009 is a rare creature: an international, inter-disciplinary, community-led festival which involves science, art, film and music. Pestival will have a wide appeal (on multiple audience levels) – to the culture-vulture, to families, to schools and to the nature-curious. Pestival seeks to exist to initiate ideas, through a hybrid event entailing both cultural and scientific investigations, which are of both social and ecological significance. It will reconnect people with the insect world by challenging and changing their perceptions.
Do you wish to help revolutionise public understanding of art and the environment and help build awareness of current insect interactions with both the natural world and humankind. Come and take part in a unique event this September by volunteering time and energy. Meet other like minded people and have fun by joining this energetic and innovative community of cutting edge scientists and artists.
Artists and activities include insect ID walks and talks; insect fashion shows with internationally renowned artist in residence Noboru Tsubaki; artist Bob and Roberta Smith’s mobile Brownfield site; insect Comedy with Robin Ince; A termite Pavilion and a insect music with Robyn Hitchcock.
If you would like to volunteer at the event please contact email@example.com with VOLUNTEER in the subject and your name and contact details and area of interest in the mail. You can volunteer for a 4 hour day or night shift or for the entire weekend. If you had any other ideas for volunteering just let us know, we’d love to hear form you.
You would have to attend a volunteer training day in August and would be invited to a volunteer meeting in June to get to know each other. Applicants maybe required to be CRB checked. We look forward to meeting you.
Fantastic news: Pestival has won not 1 but 2 awards! We are the privileged winners of the Wellcome Trust’s Peoples award for our ‘Bee Social’ project to be launched in May this year – watch this space… We are indebted to Wellcome Trust for their support with the Pestival 2009. www.wellcome.ac.uk
Meanwhile, our Termite inspired ‘Tower of Life’ Project won the Special Award from The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. We would like to thank the commissioners for believing in this ambitious and unique project. www.royalcommission1851.org.uk
Parisian artist Suisse Marocain has been conceiving the Southbank Centre through the eyes of underwater insects. In anticipation of Pestival this September “when the Thames water insects will have a party”.
A working lunch as engineer Dr. Rupert Soar shows Nicky Kirk and Chris Bagot (Softroom Architects) the internal workings of a termite mound. Good to see the ‘Tower of Life’ project is well underway. The unveiling of this insect-inspired architectural piece will take place at Pestival 2009 at the Southbank Centre.