THE BEETLE raised the question of the Era of the Insect

11/06/2018

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“It reminded me of everyone’s part in everything.”

– Audience feedback on THE BEETLE film

The tenth IHME Contemporary Art Festival was constructed around this year’s commissioned work, the Swedish artist Henrik Håkansson’s film THE BEETLE. The star of the film, the halavasepikkä – an endangered beetle that lives only in Vantaa – put the spotlight on another species’ experience: Can we understand what it is like to be an animal other than a human?

Seen more broadly the film prompted us to think about how we as the human species grasp the effects our own actions have on the diversity of nature. On our planet invertebrates makes up more than 97% of all living creatures. So, instead of the Anthropocene, should we be talking about the Era of the Insect – the Era of the Hylochares cruentatus beetle, for example?

In addition to film screenings, the two-day event at Korjaamo Culture Factory offered a programme of talks, which assessed the relationships between ecology, human attitudes to nature, and art. Finnish author Juha Hurme, who gave IHME’s tenth-anniversary speech, highlighted the importance of language – also of the non-verbal kind – in understanding the world’s diversity. In this light one of the Festival’s goals – increasing awareness of the unique insect species in question – was brilliantly achieved via the film and its supporting programme, and people responded to the sepikkä beetle with gratifying interest.

The Korjaamo event, together with art workshops for young people and the Festival’s extension to the halavasepikkä’s habitat in Mätäoja, Vantaa, reached a total of 5000 people. Local newspapers and actors in Vantaa also responded enthusiastically to their very own beetle.

THE BEETLE available online via Yle!

In honour of IHME’s anniversary THE BEETLE will be viewable on the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle’s online channel Yle Areena from anywhere in the world for a year, until May 25, 2019.

News item about IHME’s collaboration with Yle, and a link to Areena >

The 2018 IHME Project in the media >

Further information: Executive Director Paula Toppila, paula.toppila@ihmefestival.fi, +358 (0)45 1240096

Press materials and photos: https://www.ihmehelsinki.fi/en/media/

The annual IHME Festival brings international contemporary art into pubic space. The IHME artist’s commissioned work surprizes people in their everyday routines, in places where they are not used to seeing art. The IHME Project is continued at a free event that offers a variety of viewpoints on the themes dealt with by the artwork. The IHME School audience-work programme takes place in schools, youth centres and wherever the IHME Project is.