Pestival is a mobile arts festival examining insect-human interactivity in bioscience, through paradigms of contemporary art, cinema, music and comedy as well as direct scientific demonstration and educational projects.
Pestival brings together eminent international artists and scientists, along with local and global communities, to collaborate on cutting-edge interdisciplinary art projects, placing the natural world under the microscope in order to further public understanding of our place within the biosphere.
Pestival aims to initiate a cultural shift in the way people think, moving them towards a more integrated way of looking at the natural world. Pestival’s lasting legacy is to forge new working relationships between disciplines, communities and species. Pestival says “Insectes sans frontières”.
Pestival believes insects are critical to human life on Earth. With over a million insect species, they are the most diverse group of animals on Earth. And yet insects are frequently misunderstood, reviled or, at best, ignored by the majority of the human population. Pestival has set out to challenge existing stereotypes about insects and to give them their rightful place, for good and bad (vectors and pollinators), in our collective cultural consciousness.
- To continue to offer a new working model that functions on a variety of social, civic and ethical levels, moving freely between local, national and international context, in a populist and educational way.
- To fuse the disciplines of science and art through the understanding of insects.
- To unite people in action and thought, enabling individuals and communities to come together on culturally relevant issues across international boundaries.
Pestival 2009 at the Southbank Centre was a tremendous success, seeing a 20-fold increase in visitors to 200,000. It featured 50 free interactive events and numerous experts at the cutting edge of art and science, and was supported by over 260 volunteers. Over 10 million people worldwide were reached by Pestival’s press campaign. Media coverage included all broadsheet newspapers, high art and serious science journals, music and culture magazines, Time Out, ITV News and BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme. In addition there was international press coverage including The New York Times and Nippon TV. BBC London Weather even broadcast their TV report live from inside the Termite Pavilion. Of the 10% of visitors surveyed, 98% had changed their view of insects and their importance to the health of the planet and our daily lives. Insects had gone high profile.
(Above: Pestival 2009 wraps up at 2am – the last Pestival team standing!)
© Joseph Burns