Spiders for lunch and Nordic Food Labs as the Wellcome Collection plays part in Pestival

By Mary Stevens | 26 April 2013

Festival preview: Pestival, Wellcome Collection, London, until May 16 2013



London’s Wellcome Collection is currently playing willing host to an infestation of art and events set to challenge our insect phobias.

Collaborating with Pestival, a mobile festival devoted to increasing our understanding of all things buzzy, crawly and wiggly, Who is the Pest? brings together insect labs, installations debates and games on an etymological theme.

Opportunities to get to know - and maybe even eat - the “enemy” include a culinary case put forward by Insects au Gratin.

This installation, created by Susan Soares, showcases insect harvesting techniques already under investigation.

Workshops with engineers, food scientists and designers attempt to find out how the insect menu of the near future could satisfy our nutritional needs and even our gastronomic aspirations. Are we all set to join the ranks of the entomophagists (insect eaters)?

Continuing the theme of spiders for lunch, on April 30 and May 1, Nordic Food Lab will be creating comestibles designed to turn disgust to delight in Exploring the Deliciousness of Insects.

As founders of Copenhagen’s Noma, which is renowned for serving up Michelin quality cuisine while embracing the use of wild ingredients, it’s likely the squeamish will leave satisfied.

Evenings of canapés and discussion make this a full taster menu for anyone wanting to take a bite back at any of those pesky critters that might have had a nibble at them.

Also on the programme is an evening of discussion led by speakers including Tony Juniper, who will be debating the impacts of us and creepy crawlies on the planet in Insects vs Humans on May 16.

If you can’t get to London to engage in the debate, you can play Who's the Pest  –  an interactive game giving you the chance to see both sides of the battle between us and the ants.

We can’t extract our life cycles from those of insects – they bug us all our lives and eat us when we die.

For Pestival and the Wellcome, this show has a common purpose in putting the interdependence of humans, environment and health under the microscope.

It aims to reconnect us with our most important social network – our planet – in a positive and fun way and to ponder whether changing our perceptions of creepy crawlies can contribute to solving some of the sustainability crises facing us today.

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