Science - March 29, 2018

Memorial cemetery for solder fly larvae (photo series)

Tessa Louwerens

On the floor of Impulse near the seating lie 56 carefully arranged lines of small rectangular black stones. Around them are pink and white carnations. One visitor accidentally kicks a stone. An act of desecration, it turns out. Because this is a tiny memorial cemetery.

© Sven Menschel

You can read the inscription using the magnifying glass that lies beside it: Here lies an unknown soldier sacrificed for our homeland. En op de lintjes aan de anjers staat: To our black soldier fly larvae, Thank you for consuming our ever-growing food waste and decaying matter. We really appreciate the new proteins you produce for animal feed, and are eternally grateful for making our food production more sustainable.

This cemetery is a tribute to the larvae of the black soldier fly, who lay down their lives to provide us with food. This is just one of the 10 artworks in Conversation Pieces, an artistic event held March 27th in Impulse. For this project, art students at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam were paired with WUR PhD candidates.

The designers of the cemetery, Pauline Rip, Seonmi Shin and Naomi Lamdin, were inspired by the research of PhD candidate Stijn Schreven at the Laboratory for Entomology. He studies the interaction between fly larvae and bacteria in rotting waste, and looks at how it can be harnessed so that waste is broken down safely and efficiently. Schreven, who also helped organize the exhibition, hopes the artwork will help to get people accepting insects as a source of food. ‘A lot of people are disgusted by larvae because they associate them with death. That association is kept up here, but turned around. Here it is the death of the larvae that is commemorated, in recognition of their contribution to sustainable food production.’  The point being that the larvae get processed into animal feed.

(Text continues under the photo)

Art students: Pauline Rip, Seonmi Shin en Naomi Lamdin met Promovendus Stijn Schreven ©Margriet van Vianen

In this artwork, the death of the larvae is commemorated, in recognition of their contribution to sustainable food production.
Entomologist Stijn Schreven

View the other artworks here:

Kunst ontmoet wetenschap

Re:actions 1

  • website visitor

    Hi, it seems that the Dutch version has more text while the english version of this article suddenly stops after "get processed into animal feed."