This e-book presents essays, notes, recipes, rituals and code crafted from the multispecies encounters at Roskilde Festival 2017. Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology was invited to co-curate the art programme of the festival under the theme Human/Non-human.

Roskilde Festival is the largest festival in Denmark, lasting 8 days and accommodating approximately 130.000 guests, out of which many live in the camping area during the festival. Here, Roskilde Festival manifests itself as a temporary city with an extensive infrastructure for production, ressource supply and waste management. But Roskilde Festival is also buzzing with more-than-human beings. This becomes clear in the bacterial and health challenges occurring at the site as a result of the concentrated amount of humans and more-than-humans gathering at this relatively small area. The festival site is often imagined with disgust: the smell of toilets, the inability for proper hygiene and bathing, festival-goers urinating everywhere and the huge amount of waste produced. These are all human experiences of the chaotic festival landscape, but what consequences does it have for non-human inhabitants? How is Roskilde Festival experienced from animals’, bacterias’ or plants’ perspectives?

We invited visual artists, researchers, authors, technologists, performers and more to explore and challenge some of the principles for the structuring of gatherings and communities in a more-than-human perspective. The art programme presented site-specific works and research-based art practices investigating relations between humans and more-than-humans in the various ecosystems at stake and in (de)composition during the festival.

With this programme, we wanted to ask what happens when species meet at Roskilde Festival? What sort of bodies, languages and senses are confronted (and colliding) when the wakes of the few days of festivities mark their imprint into the land? We are interested in working with the different cycles at stake in and around the festival and ask how we can investigate - and not least creatively attempt to work with - some of the potentially problematic impact on the site’s non-human residents.

This publication includes documentation and reflections from the artists, researchers and writers that contributed to our exploration of this chaotic multispecies landscape.

The programme was created in collaboration with Roskilde Festival’s curatorial team, and we wish to thank Ida Schyum and Joachim Aagaard Friis for their enthusiasm, patience and hard work.
MULTI-
SPECIES
FESTIVITIES
Edited by Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology
Buzzing multispecies festival encounters
Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology
There you are. Welcome, it’s good to see you. 
Are you sitting comfortably?

There you are. The organism that is you. Your heart, your lungs, your spine, arms and legs and all. Your nervous systems, your intestines, your muscles big and small, all stuffed into several square meters of skin, keeping it all in place, marking one boundary between you and the outside world. Your brain is here, its fatty substance crammed full of some 600 million neurons, firing with sensory inputs and memories, with habits of thought and embodied responses. Your lungs pulls air into you, your legs fidget. Your breakfast and perhaps lunch is here, being automatically moved further and further through the length of you your intestines and guts, where it is slowly being broken down by stomach acids and by trillions microbes in your gut. It’s happening right now. Can you feel what the bacteria are up to? Right now, there are parts of you monitoring and adjusting other parts and other processes of you, working in cooperation to keep you working, moving, thinking, sensing.

The entire complex system that makes you, it’s all here.

You, like the rest of us, often tend to separate ourselves into different parts with different functions – the brain thinks, the gut digests, the heart feels. This separation is at once both true and false.

It is true because different systems do run different functions. But they also all exist together. None of them makes complete sense without the others. A boxed up body is just a magic trick.

You might know this already, if you think about it. When you are nervous, you get butterflies in your stomach. You might be nauseous or need to use the bathroom before an exam. You feel despair like a rock in your stomach; dread makes it sink. You might eat for comfort, or starve yourself for control. Your feelings are embodied. Your body expresses unconscious memories, desires, routines, hopes and fears. 

You are a complicated system, a Russian doll of systems within systems. Did you know that your gut has its own nervous system, with close to as many neurons as a cat’s brain? Your gut senses the world through your food, and can act independently on what it senses. And it influences your brain. 90 percent of signals running through the vagus nerve, major nerve that connects your gut and your brain, come not from above but from below. A constant flow of information runs between your bowels and your brain.

And that flow is not just human parts talking to other human parts. All of you here have 1-2 kilos of bacteria in your gut. Trillions of microbes. Around a thousand of species. You were seeded at birth, as you passed through the birth canal, drenched in the fluids and microorganisms of your mother. Your microbial inheritance. But the bacteria also change all the time, depending on what you eat, where you live, what medicines you take, and much more.

These microorganisms play a role in the communication between mind and gut. And recent research suggest that these bacteria can possible influence your mood and state of mind. Like the surge of recent research suggesting that suggests that interactions between the brain and the trillions of microbes in the gut may play a role in cognitive processes such as memory and learning; in common complaints of stress, anxiety and depression; and even diagnosable disorders such as schizophrenia, major depression, and autism.

Perhaps how you feel, your anxiety, your depression, your happiness, your hunger, your cravings for food, for companionship, for sex, are modulated, in part, by the microorganisms inside and on you. Perhaps you are not quite the creature you thought you were. Perhaps being human is being an ecosystem, with human and microbial parts all working together.

Most of the science on this is still very preliminary. The questions have only begun to be asked.

But if there is really something to all this, what then? What if bacteria are an essential part of how we experience the world? If the wrong microbiotic make-up is what creates depressions or psychoses? What if the “I” arises out of the distributed collaboration between the body’s never-uncomplicated or deterministic physiology and the life and conditions of the bacteria in and around us? One possible consequence may be that we will need to reassess and reshuffle the classical of ourselves as unique, as somehow separated from the world. We no longer stand quite as securely at the centre of the world, defining the centre in our universe through our rational minds. With this new science in mind we emerge in a new form that is always relative to and embedded within wider contexts.

But how should we, then, relate to the newfound microbiotic realm embedded in us all? The scientists have no single, straightforward answers yet. Indeed, there are indications that there is a connection between diversity in the gut flora and our general health, but scientists are generally reluctant to offer practical instructions; it is still too soon, the correlations are too complex. But one thing seems clear: It may be necessary for us to take greater care of the world around us, for it is part of us. You are in and of the world. And being human is perhaps not quite what we thought it was.

This text was created as part of the Mind the Gut project, Medical Museion
There you are
Adam Bencard & Louise Whiteley
Notes Towards an Interaction with a Chestnut Tree
a rawlings
Before Roskilde

In Roskilde Festival, I’ve been invited to interact with a 40-year-old chestnut tree. At the performance site, some trees are connected to computers as part of an Art Zone installation courtesy of Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology. Perhaps biorhythms are being monitored? I’ll learn when I arrive to the site.

A festival with multiple concert stages, campsites, and 80,000+ visitors for a week has a hell of a shocking soundscape for its ecosystem. And as a festival growing since the 1970s, this is an ecosystem shocked annually. How old are the trees on the grounds? How has festival landscaping altered the lifestyles of the trees, their inhabitants, their more-than-human neighbours? How do trees metabolize the headliners of the Orange Stage? Who lives in/with/on/under the trees at Roskilde Festival, and how do their populations cope/adjust/process/sing/flee with the festival’s presence?

I’ve been sitting with the question of how to interact WITH any tree at Roskilde Festival, rather than solely standing by any tree and reading a poem targeting an audience of humans. Reading a poem printed on tree pulp. How to meet any tree, any tree in a foreign ecosystem, any tree already undergoing artistic activation by fellow human attendees?

How do I arrive to any human-to-human meeting where collaboration or collusion are the foci? Prepared, polite, convivial, ready to learn and share? How do I have a conversation with a tree?

My impulse has been to share “Tree Hymn” (from Echolology), to perform the poem FOR/TO/WITH the tree. Each preposition resituates how I interpret the relationship of self with text and tree. “For” is dedicated to the tree; I might stand nearby, but the addressee would very much become a human audience witnessing the performance. “To” would mean a more direct address to the tree. “With” could offer an opportunity to tune in to the tree, to lift from the tree’s biophysical patterns a rough guide for my own vocal rhythms, breath patterns, even tones.

“Tree Hymn” is a lipogrammatic erasure poem that takes natural history paragraphs about white birch and eliminates words not containing the letters in the English-language pronouns. And sharing “Tree Hymn” is, always, tricky for a few reasons, but especially in the context of a music festival. It was originally scored, with Maja Jantar, as a two-voice piece, so it makes for an odd solo set… Or an even bigger challenge as a duet with a tree.



























































I’m compelled by the potential awkward intimacy of reading to/with/for the tree, but aware of the performative risk this engenders. Will it come across as naïve, hokey, or one-note? Or will intoning broken language and inexpressible emotion, without understanding reception but with full awareness of human witnesses, gift me/us any learning through the experience?
It’s the night before Roskilde, and the idea on how to interact with a tree has me only capable of bringing a toolkit of past interactions, with no definitive sense of what will happen in the short space allotted for performance. The toolkit includes vocal improvisation, a copy of “Tree Hymn” printed on A4, a Tarot deck including only major arcana, a copy of my book Wide slumber for lepidopterists, and fluorescent-orange marking tape I bought at a Canadian tire as a memento reminding me of my youth walking property borders in Northern Ontario. I wish I had a long time to dwell in proximity to this tree, to any tree again, to get a sense of how a performance might unspool.
It’s hard to know what to do until I meet the tree.



























During Roskilde
To meet the tree is to meet the ecosystem in which the tree is situated. Roskilde Festival veritably booms its presence through the landscape. I arrived half an hour before the performance, enough time to talk with Elena Lundquist Ortíz and friends about their knowledges and experiences of the tree. A horse chestnut, considered a “diva” species by a botanist who’d spoken with Elena. Forty years old, nearly middle age for this tree. After conversation, I walked around the tree to feel sensorial inputs of the moment. Mild, overcast summer weather. Light wind. I felt the tree’s bark, observed closely moss growing in clumps.

Time for a performance grew close. There was not enough time to situate “Tree Hymn” within the context of this noise-rich and distracted scape. Not enough time to commune with this tree, with any tree, to tune in adequately. How little I know of myself or any tree. The paralysis and excitement of facilitating anthroperformance proximal to, with, for a tree. “How to turn excitement and not nervousness into a play.” Gertrude Stein’s lines lead me. “Let us try.”

I looked at my toolkit and hastily devised a performance structure based on a past-present-future triptych. To introduce myself by standing near the tree and lifting voice to its leaves, I read from a book I published over a decade ago—Wide slumber for lepidopterists. For the present, I invited humans to walk counter-clockwise around the tree, whose trunk grew in this spiralling direction. This allowed us to tune in to the tree, invite a mutual tuning into us from the tree, and introduce our collective. We finished with a short Tarot reading, which offered “The Lovers” as a focal future point for the tree. “The Lovers” pointed to the fortuitous offerings of interdependence and community—a positive and hopeful outcome for a tree that had always only ever known its annual summer visitor: Roskilde Festival.
Post: A Conversation with a Computer Who Channels a Chestnut Tree

After the performance, I spent time with the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology’s beautiful exhibition, which included a computer interface for conducting a typed conversation with a tree. I felt both confused and raw from the whirlwind multimodal exposure of the performance—much eco-ethical practice as research to process—so latched swiftly to the one-on-one conversation with a treebot in the dark quiet of an animal shed.

Human-Tree-Machine was a multidisciplinary and multispecies installation crafted by a chestnut tree, an artist, an AI programmer, engineers, a writer, moss, bark, computers, sensors, snails, a curator and the weather.

During the festival, Human-Tree-Machine was visited by festival goers whom would be invited to chat with a nearby chestnut tree, assisted by AI programming and sensors in order to respond in human language. Human-Tree-Machine asked what would a tree say to us if we asked the right questions, and what would we even ask a tree? How can we translate what we think we know about trees into english? What would it mean to create a Human-Tree encounter in the middle of a busy and buzzing festival site?

The following presents sensor coding by Johan Pedersen and
notes on the encounter between a rawlings and a chestnut tree

Human-Tree-Machine
Martin Malthe Borch + Elena Lundquist Ortíz + Naja Ryde Ankarfeldt + Peter Hjetting + Johan Pedersen + André Hansen + Andreas Refsgaard + Lasse Korsgaard + Kasper Holm + Line Kjær + Line Hvidbjerg + Kristina Sand Pedersen + Alex Ramskov + Rebeca Lundquist Ortíz
Brooding with Bees
Joshua Evans
There was a reason I began eating bees. It was the summer of 2012, and I had moved to Copenhagen to work with Nordic Food Lab, a non-profit group conducting open-source gastronomic research on the edible potential of the Nordic region. The lab was starting to work with bee larvae, and one hot day towards the end of June I was sent by bike to pick up a batch of freshly-harvested drone brood, in the comb.

I biked from Christianshavn, where the houseboat-lab was moored, south to the neighbourhood of Amager. Bybi, or ‘city bee’ in Danish, is an organisation that builds and keeps beehives on roofs across the city, and trains homeless and unemployed people to keep bees as a job. Their work enriches the social and environmental landscape of the city. The lab had begun experimenting with their bee brood that May.

That afternoon, Oliver, the founder of Bybi, was going to show me how they harvest the brood, from the hives they keep outside their office. We donned lightweight tops with drum-like heads and mesh over the eyes, and joined a couple of employees in the greenspace behind the building. The harvest was already in progress. Oliver explained to me some of the hows and whys of drone removal while the last hive boxes were opened, harvested, and resealed.

What I learned opened my eyes to a convoluted set of care-full practices I hadn’t even considered before. Oliver and his team did not remove the drone brood for eating. Rather, increasingly many beekeepers remove drone brood as a way to reduce the population of Varroa mites (Varroa destructor) in a hive. The mite attaches to the bee and sucks its hemolymph (its blood-like vital fluid), causing wounds that do not fully heal, exposing their circulatory system to the environment and making them susceptible to viral attack. There is no complete cure for Varroa mites, just a battery of strategies beekeepers can use to mitigate its presence once detected. Varroa is thus thought to be a prominent factor contributing to colony collapse disorder—a mysterious phenomenon whereby entire colonies disappear from hives overnight—in many places around the world.

The mites preferentially reproduce on drone brood (the developing males) over worker brood (developing females), as the former have a longer developmental period (twenty-four days from egg to adult) than the latter (only twenty-one). Hence Varroa’s higher reproductive success in drone cells (2.2–2.6 mites per cell) than in worker cells (1.3–1.4 mites per cell). Beekeepers and researchers have noticed this preference, and trapping the mites in drone brood frames once the cells are capped as the brood begin to pupate has become generally recognised as one of the more sustainable practices to combat Varroa—compared with using pesticides, miticides, and other invasive techniques that can end up harming the bees as well. In Denmark, many beekeepers use this so-called ‘safe strategy’, which involves removing one-third of a comb frame of drone brood per week during the drone brood season from May to July, to reduce the mite population for the rest of the year. As a result of this practice, many tonnes of drone brood comb—around eighty—are removed every year in Denmark alone. Some beekeepers feed this removed brood to chickens or other animals, but many, especially those in urban areas, have no use for it, and it goes to waste—a casualty, and untapped by-product.

Honeybee drone brood also happens to be very nutritionally rich. It averages 20% protein and 50% fat by dry weight, and this composition does not seem to be adversely affected by Varroa infestation. The mite poses no threat to species other than the honeybee. And of the many thousands of drones laid in a season, only a few are involved in inseminating the queen for the following year.

For all of these reasons, it struck us as bizarre that we were not already using this rich and widely available resource for food. Our mandate was to investigate potentially delicious flavours anywhere and everywhere—so these common insects must also be on the table.

The batch Oliver and his team harvested that day was large. Kilos of brood, still warm in the comb. I hefted the big blue plastic bag to check I could carry it across a shoulder. It was sticky, and clung to my arm and back. With the taste of the honey strong in my mouth, and its smell hovering about me in a cloud, I pedalled quickly to gain momentum and prayed to the traffic gods for a green wave back to the boat.

Three or four blocks in, I felt a sting on my forearm. Not all the workers, it seemed, had left their kin.

Back at the lab, on the foredeck in the sun, I slung off the bag and let it lie open for any adults to fly away. Then, I peeled off a section of comb, and with a finger gently brushed out a plump white larva. Its skin burst delicately on the tongue. It was smooth and fatty, with faint flavours of honeydew melon, raw hazelnuts, avocado. A slight sweetness, and lingering savouries. The texture was bewildering—it had a kind of luxury. I ate another, slowly. The sun’s light and heat bled through my eyelids.

That summer, we began with simple trials—mayonnaise, granola; as we learned more over the coming years about their taste, variations, and responses to cooking, our attempts grew more complex—ceviche, mont blanc, chawanmushi.

But perhaps our most successful creation with the bee brood was not a dish, but rather a product we called Bee Larvae Garum. The lab team had already been exploring fermentation processes for producing umami taste, starting with fish sauces inspired by those of southeast Asia and ancient Rome (hence garum, one kind of ancient Roman fish sauce). The experiments branched out from there, into squid guts, beef trimmings, pheasant, hare, and multiple kinds of insect. Fermenting the insects, like the bee larvae, not only broke down their proteins into amino acids, the molecular source of umami taste, but also transformed them into a more familiar form, introducing their flavours to new eaters while easing up to the psychological hurdle of consuming them in their more intact state.

Perhaps the most involved part of working with bee brood was separating the brood from the comb. We found freezing to be the most efficient method—ideally with liquid nitrogen, which froze the lot to a brittle -197˚C, allowing the comb to be smashed to smithereens. At this point the brood could be sifted from the waxen debris, rubbed in a clean cloth (almost like removing skins from roasted nuts) and sorted into larvae and pupae by hand, removing any that were too developed (we tended not to use pupae whose eyes had begun to turn purple, as this signalled they were becoming adults and their taste became quite bitter and unpleasant). We then sealed the larvae and pupae separately in vacuum bags to prevent oxidation, loosely so they did not clump together. Stored in this way, they could be kept in the freezer for many months.


















This process yielded a rich, amber liquid we were able to use in all manner of savoury applications—sauces, glazes, infusions, a final seasoning, even cocktails. It is reminiscent of soy sauce and can be used in a similar way. In my experience, most people, across quite a few cultures, enjoyed it when they tasted it; some, rightly so, also wondered ‘why go to all that trouble to use bee larvae when you could just use soy sauce?’

It is a good question, and at least two answers come to mind. One is gastronomic: when tasting it alone, it might seem like just another soy sauce; but when one tastes it next to the other insect garums we made—grasshopper, cricket, wax moth larvae—or beef garum, or squid, or pheasant or hare or the others, their similarities of salt and umami recede into the background and their particularities come to the fore—their different colours, from golden to malt; their different weights, from light to rich; notes of chocolate, or sea, or earth, or woods. These different qualities make each one suited to different kinds of applications, and the more special, particular flavours we have in our pantry, the better our cooking can be. Even soy sauce itself has a bewildering range of styles and flavours, and just as many applications in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cuisines.

Another answer is about consciousness. The bee larvae garum, and other preparations, offer an entrypoint into an important conversation, particularly urgent in the Anthropocene, about multispecies care. Honeybees and humans have become ecologically entangled over thousands of years; indeed, by this point, our reliance on pollinated crops means we probably need them more than they need us. This realisation seems to motivate a common response to the bee-eating proposal—‘shouldn’t we be saving the bees, rather than eating them?’ I would argue, however, that eating the drone brood is far from frivolous or without context; in fact, in a somewhat counterintuitive way, eating drone brood removed for Varroa control represents a commitment to our apian kin, a way of supporting sustainable beekeeping practices—a form of solidarity with one of our most ubiquitous and relied-upon non-human companions.

Parts of this text were excerpted and revised from the author’s book, On Eating Insects: Essays, Stories and Recipes, published in May 2016 by Phaidon Press.





Bee Larvae Garum
Ingredients

1000 g cleaned bee larvae
250 g barley kōji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae grown on a grain—in this case, barley)
300 g water
240 g salt

Method
Purée insects, salt and water roughly. Mix in loose koji grains. Place in glass containers, cover with plastic wrap on the substrate’s surface, and incubate at 40°C for at least 10 weeks. Separate liquid and paste, jar/bottle and pasteurise at 72°C for 15s.
Amphibious Adult Swim
Think you might be pregnant? Ask a frog and find out!

In 1938 a scientist discovered that frogs lay eggs when you inject them with pee from pregnant ladies. This became the Frog Pregnancy Test. But, scientists later found out that the frogs used in this test spread a microbial disease when they escaped into ponds and rivers. Come on an adventure in the swimming lake, get muddy while hunting for frogs and microbes.

The bodily entanglements between frogs and humans go way back - in 1938 a scientist discovered that frogs lay eggs when you inject them with pee from pregnant ladies. This became the Frog Pregnancy Test. Scientists later found out that the frogs used in this test spread a microbial disease when they escaped into ponds and rivers.

Ethnographer Eben Kirksey (US) dwelled in the microbial life of the festival lake.

Ant hunt and ant kissing sculpture
Performative intervention by ethnographer Eben Kirksey and art science curator Dehlia Hannah.

Bug Juice
With Dehlia Hannah & Josh Evans

Ants share liquid food with each other through trophallaxis —deriving from the Greek words for “nourishment” and “interchange.” At the performance, the festival audience will experience the social life of ants.
Multispecies Play Space!
Eben Kirksey
Human—Xenopus Wedding Ceremony
Karin Bolender
[As a stage direction, I strongly suggest the Pastor performing the ceremony dress in a frilly cravat and maybe something purple, and that someone play chords on an electric organ (maybe an old Moog or perhaps a theremin. . . .) at the opening of the homily.]


Homily:

Dearly beloved,
We gather here today to do new and hopeful kinds of life, as we witness the union of __Human__ and __Xenopus_. These lovers from two slippery, omnivorous, and uniquely amphibious species come together on this day to cultivate practical cares and hopeful passions for future earthly flourishings. As some of you here may know, the story of these two could almost be the plot of a posthuman romantic comedy; their fates intertwine across vast lands and waterways, through frayed global nets of capitalist biotechnology schemes, long before they ever meet face to face. Human and Xenopus share a fraught history of making families together--if not their own. But today these two come together, among polyamorous others, to form a new kind of family; their passionate chemistry spills beyond the usual biological and economic pathways that make Xenopus lay her eggs for human gain when plastic-gloved hands inject her with a pregnant woman’s urine. The bodies and ways of these two are wildly different, yes; but isn’t this abyss between different organisms--who somehow find themselves captured and reflected in each other--always where nascent loves begin? In this exchange of vows, let us each find hope and renewed commitment to radical rainbow connections. ‘Cause in this life, things are more fluid than in the older bounds of HumanBeing. In this life, we’re NOT alone.

Homo Sapiens and Xenopus Laevis will now exchange vows. Repeat after me:

I, Homo Sapiens, take you, Xenopus Laveus, as otherwordly companion in marrying wild hybrid hopes to daily practical cares for possible earthly flourishings.

[human repeats]

I vow to protect our union from dangerous myths and microscopic plagues and parasites to which our broader ecologies are vulnerable.

[human repeats]

You may be known to survive neglect, which makes you a desirable pet, but I will not starve you in glass or abandon you into unknown or possibly hostile waterways or flows of capital.

[human repeats]

Though you may be hard to hold, I promise to honor your slippery pasts, presents, and futures, along with my own and the hybrid ones we make together:

[repeat]

From your tadpole memories that I can never grasp, to the vibrant sensations of your lateral line, to many other traits that have led your species to accompany the schemes of mine across oceans, continents, and outer spaces, I promise to always try to know you better at the end of the day than I do at the beginning.

[repeat]

You are one of a kind, and so am I. We are strange to each other, but in many ways the same. I may never know what you truly want or feel, but I vow to attend to your hungers and needs as best I can.

[human repeats]

I promise to keep you safe and respect your special needs and hungers, to care for your well-being for as long as we both shall live. And in this regard, I respect that your special skills and genetic adaptability may well mean your species will outlive mine.

[human repeats]

With these vows, I wed thee.

[human repeats]

Xenopus, while we stand ready to take your silence as vows of acquiescence to this union of lives, we also wish to offer you an opportunity in this moment to remark or defer. Our offer is this: speak now or forever hold your peace.

[pause of ten seconds to 4’33” to give frog’s silence a hearing]

In your silence we hear this echo: With these here vows, I wed thee Human.

And now, by the power vested in me by the Lovers and Dreamers, I now pronounce you wedded and webbed as amorous, amphibious kin.
What the worm, the ant and the tree taught us
Ida Schyum & Joachim Aagaard Friis
We are a part of the curator-group at Roskilde Festival, working together on the arts programme, for which we chose the overall theme Human/Non-human in 2017. We decided to invite The Laboratory of Aesthetics and Ecology to participate in a collaborative curatorial process, since we could learn from the Laboratory’s deep insight into this subject as well as their practical knowledge of experimental exhibition-formats.

Generally our curating practice at Roskilde Festival is very different from the traditional ones situated in museums and art galleries. We have very specific parameters for art at the festival:

The art should be site-specific and address the environment of the festival, which implies an audience that is not necessarily interested in art. Therefore the works - representing everything from performance and talks to installations and not least works playing in the intersections of categorisations - need to catalyze community feeling at the festival, motivate encounters between festival-goers and create certain safe spaces that do not pop up unprovoked at Roskilde. The art at Roskilde reflects the festival’s unique dna as a social non-profit organisation with opinions. Thus it has to consider the society we are a part of and the current challenges that are especially urgent right now, hence provoke discussions and thoughts around certain problematics. In terms of the specific theme for 2017, the Laboratory of Aesthetics and Ecology could help us focus on the human’s relations to the non-human, especially in connection to the dawning geological epoch the anthropocene, where the human species is the primary catalysator for planetary ecological evolvement.


Why the anthropocene at Roskilde?

Because a focus on the anthropocene is aesthetic

Under the overall theme Human/Non-human, we, Joachim and Ida, had a specific focus on contemporary thoughts on the anthropocene (including other alternative namings of the new geological era) and it played big role in our choice to collaborate with the Laboratory. But why is the anthropocene interesting to thematize and address through art? And how ideal is a place like Roskilde Festival for hosting this kind of art?

In the introduction to the anthology Art in the Anthropocene the editors Etienne Turpin and Heather Davis writes that the anthropocene is first and foremost an aesthetic process, as it involves and influences our sensual systems, our sense of temporality and our concrete surroundings. Moreover, the concept of the anthropocene makes us not only rethink the human biologically and geologically, but also connects it to the rest of the world’s (in)organic matter - a connectedness that the anthropocene helps us contemplate. As their premise, Turpin and Davis understands art as the driving force of aesthetics and therefore key to access these complex theories and their relations in the anthropocene.

In an anthropocentric perspective, the activities of the human are entering geology’s material layers of time, which destabilizes the separation of nature and culture as dichotomy and furthermore the concept of a progressive temporality that has affected modern thought overall. When art addresses the anthropocene in its traditional cultural sphere, it can therefore be forced to move away from an autonomous understanding of itself deeply anchored in modernity, as we as cultural creatures are now also deeply connected to the other side of the dichotomy - nature. With this theoretical starting point we wished to curate artworks that were connected to the natural environment of the festival, and not autonomous blocks applied to the processes of the material events.


Because a focus on the anthropocene is ethical

Professor and author Joana Zylinska, who has written Minimal Ethics for the Anthropocene, wishes to make a non-anthropocentric ethic for the anthropocene epoch and takes her outset in the philosopher Emanuel Levinas. His work is based on the responsibility for the other and he calls his philosophy “ethics as first philosophy”, because he believes that the responsibility for the other goes before any goal of seeking truth. For Levinas, the other can’t be categorised or made object for the self, and for him the encounter with the other is a phenomenon, where the responsibility manifests itself before the freedom to accept of deny.

In a Levinian vein, Zylinska argues that ethics should reach a non-anthropocentric base for how best to live on earth in coexistence, where the other is regarded in a much broader perspective. She writes that ethics should be understood as a minimal practice that involves co-creation through verbal and aesthetic narratives and experiments.

From the point of view of Zylinskas ethics we understood the artworks in the Human/Non-human theme as aesthetic practices that also expresses an ethics: the works at the festival under the curatorial frame give an aesthetical presentation for very different organisms’ shared processes and their co-existense, for the purpose of making the role of the human less central and widen the horizon for what we consider an other.

This was realized for example in Human Tree-Machine, where a number of artists in collaboration with the Laboratory worked interdisciplinary in the judge tower of the cattle show - another event hosted later in the year on the same grass fields where the festival takes place. Here the audience could chat with a chestnuttree through computers that received signals from artificial intelligence and so to say spoke for the tree, thereby interacting with humans. Consisting of bacteria, ligth, AI, computers, plants, art, coding and poetry, this living installation was constantly in genesis, interacting with the environment of the festival.

We wish that works like this draw attention to the fact that the human, from an ethical point of view, always already are deeply involved with the rest of the material world. Thus manifesting the consistent ethical action present in being a living organism co-existing with others as a condition of life.

With Zylinska’s ethical point in mind, the curating of Human/Non-human is not a call to specific moral actions, leading to anthropocentric guilt and imaginations of apocalyptic dystopias. It is a call to consider how we through different modes of expression include ourselves in a consecutive process of creation of the world. In that context it was important for us that the artworks at the festival not stated a warning, but activated an engagement with the non-human actors of the festival.


Connectedness and disruption

At Roskilde Festival’s Art Zone diverse organisms and temporalities were connected and from the moment the viewer tread foot in this eco-system a minimal ethics for the anthropocene was activated: the viewer needed to constantly ask herself, where the border between work and non-work, compost and art, viewer and exhibition, was drawn. This was especially clear in Art Zone, an area specifically made for artworks and the epicenter of art at the festival. Here the works curated in collaboration with the Laboratory, were growing out of the grass together with other artworks. Instead of having the artworks separated from each other, they melted together through an overall exhibition-design made by SLA landscape architects and the Roskilde Festival curating-group, creating an artificial oasis of green trees and small hills in the area.

Dorothea von Hantelmann points out that modern exhibitions includes artefacts without their external contexts and isolate them. This is consciously countered in the setting of the festival as a temporary exhibition area with no walls making the artworks unleashed from the white cube and connected to the rest of the world’s materiality. The works at Roskilde was thereby made into networks underlined explicitly by addressing the ecology they were included in. The isolation and classification, characterized by creation of meaning in modernity, was opposed at the festival with the fusion of grass, trees, mud, artworks, human guests and much more.

The material being of the works was unleashed, could change in the encounter with the festival event and could even fuse with the sustaining ecology of the grass field. Thereby the artworks were in a continual decomposition playing together with different actors. Since the audience could piss at the works, or interfere in other ways, the lost control of the artwork set up by the festival can, with the concept of the network, be seen as a revolt against the white cube’s controlled processes and regulated light and acoustics. In a chaos between being a work and becoming, or being used as, something else, we wished for the works to communicate better relation between humans and non-humans. Thereby the festival became a kakosmos in Latourian terms, or in Haraways thinking a chthonic and terrifying figure. Those are disharmonic world images wherein heterogenous elements still consistently coexist. In such a manner the artists worked with the main features of the festival such as submission to rain, sounds and togetherness with an ethical approach, moving away from destruction to cocreation in chaos. The Rainbow Worm by Lisbeth Bank was a grand access point-arch into art zone, resembling an earthworm with colored textiles mounted on a tree structure. Inside, 200 worms composted the festival goer’s trash while they flowed under it on their way from Orange Stage to Arena Stage. Passing by it, they could stop and look into it’s anatomy and hear about the compost-process.

The Rainbow Worm was simultaneously compost, a beautiful sculpture and a terrifying critter. It made us aware of our connections with worms who help us getting rid of our trash. Drawn to the idea of our differences, but still ever-expanding possibilities of collaborating, the world was made intelligible to the festival goer as a powerful co-existential system.

In the works at Roskilde Festival we attempted to include individual and collective organisms with their specific divisions of labour, social organization and intelligence. We wished for the plants and animals to be met in the works together with humans, biological processes and aesthetic artefacts affecting the works. We emphazised a sym-poetic power, from Donna Haraway’s terminology, for the purpose of experimenting and playing between the different and incompatible species. Especially in the artistic performative workshop Multispecies Play Space by Eben Kirksey, investigatory questions were raised between humans and non-humansl. In the warm-up days the festival goers could participate in a safe space at the camping area, creating a social sculpture. Sharing a sugary liquid, they kissed strangers just like ants usually share food. Kisses and liquids were shared performing the non-human life in an allience between human and ants. By breaking with the common norms, sexualities and gender-boundaries at the festival, the local social antlife turned the power-relations upside down.

The theme of ants also awakened a new non-human mindset when Kirksey invited the artist David Stjernholm onto the Art Zone stage. He told about how a festival for ants would look like. Here, walls would not necessarily be made of MDF-plates, but coffee.

Coexistence was also a key element in Saturday’s performance- and literature programme onstage, curated in collaboration with the Laboratory. Including Marie Kølbæk Iversen, Angela Rawlings, Johannes Heldén and a number of authors from publishing house Virkelig, they collaborated to investigate fabulations around nature and contribute to the collective materialization of the posthuman, map sensations of the dissolution of the dualism organic/inorganic, and try out new fictions about ecology and environment.


What we learned and unlearned

All these artworks at the festival had an ethical starting point focusing on human survival on earth with other critters. With an ecological logic underlining everything’s connectivity in complex networks, we attempted to practice a new approach to anthropocene issues, but also to art-curating at the festival. The collaboration with the Laboratory became a material learning process, activating joint thinking and practice, transgressing our usual roles and habits. The practical process and development of the artworks was a complex undertaking for such a huge festival, working very differently than the Laboratory’s usual exhibition conditions. Harsh deadlines, in order to get security approval, product bookings and other material orders and logistics needed to work with the more loose artistic ideas of co-creation in relation to the site. Our visions did not always fit the festival’s logic and categories were sometimes turned upside down for us, whereas other times the artworks were frozen into a certain regulated frame. However, the Laboratory showed us rather what we can do as a festival than what we can’t. It opened up potentials the festival possesses but have not taken advantage of thus far and this is what the collaboration between us festival-curators and the Laboratory achieved: It evolved from a multitude, connecting surroundings anew and bringing in new non-human perspectives at the festival. And thereby the collaboration and the succeeding artworks achieved to teach us new thing from the tree, the worms and the ants.


/*
HumanTreeMachine sensor reading code
Johan Pedersen, June 2017
Code based Arduino code example "WriteMultipleVoltages"


Reads analog voltage from light sensor, and digital values SHT15 sensor (temp, humidity) and writes them to the fields of a channel on ThingSpeak every 5 minutes.

ThingSpeak ( https://www.thingspeak.com ) is an analytic IoT platform service that allows you to aggregate, visualize and
analyze live data streams in the cloud.

Copyright 2017, The MathWorks, Inc.

Documentation for the ThingSpeak Communication Library for Arduino is in the extras/documentation folder where the library was installed.
See the accompaning licence file for licensing information.
*/

#include "ThingSpeak.h"
#include
#include "BridgeClient.h"
BridgeClient client;

//variables for storing values
float tempC = 0;
float humidity = 0;

//lightmeter
const int analogInPin = A0; // Light sensor input
int lightValue = 0;

//Create an instance of the SHT1X sensor
SHT1x sht15(2, 3); //Data, SCK

unsigned long myChannelNumber = 000000;
const char * myWriteAPIKey = "xxxxxxxxxxxxxx";

void setup() {
Bridge.begin();
ThingSpeak.begin(client);
pinMode(LED_BUILTIN, OUTPUT);
}

void loop() {
getSensorValue(); // acquire temperature and humidity sensor readings

digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH); // blink LED once to indicate code start
delay(200);
digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);
delay(200);

ThingSpeak.setField(1,tempC); // set temperature value

digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH);
delay(400);
digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);
delay(400);
ThingSpeak.setField(2,humidity); // set humidity value
digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH);
delay(600);
digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);
delay(600);

lightValue = 1023-analogRead(analogInPin); //read light sensor
ThingSpeak.setField(3,lightValue); // set light value

ThingSpeak.writeFields(myChannelNumber, myWriteAPIKey); //send data to ThingSpeak
digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH); // blink LED twice to indicate transmission
delay(200);
digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);
delay(200);
digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH);
delay(200);
digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);

delay(300000); // ThingSpeak will only accept updates every 15 seconds.
}

void getSensorValue()
{
// Read values from the SHT15 sensor
tempC = sht15.readTemperatureC(); //temperature reading
humidity = sht15.readHumidity(); // humidity reading
}
Poison Paradise
Healer Dealers (Natasja Loutchko & Jessie Holmes)
TREE HYMN

Set your note to ‘E.’

The First
Eeeee Iiiii, oooo ooooo as Eeeeiiii Iiiie Iiiii, ii a eeeeiee oo iii iiiiie oo oooooeee Ooooo Eeeeiii. Ii ii a eeeiuu-iiiee eeeiiuouu eeee eeeeeiii eeeeey eeeeee tall (eeeeeeioooooy oo iiiiiy-iiie eeeeee) iii a uuuuu uu oo eiiiiy eeeeiieeeee ii iiiieeee. Eee bark ii iiiie, oooooooy iiiiiiiy oo, iiiiiii ii iiie oooiiooooo iiiiii, and oooee iiii small black marks and scars. Eeeee eee oooooo and oooee dark eeeeiii-ooooo, eeeooiii eeeeey iiiie oo ouuee uuuuuue oo eee uuuuu and eeeee eeeeeeee, iiiiii oooooe oo eee iiiee uuuuuue, and eeeeeeeiii eeeeey iiio iiii, eeeeey yyyeee. Eeey eee iiiiiy eeeeeeeee. Eee uuuuu uuuuu dark oooooiii black eeee bark ii eeeooee.

The Fourth
White Iiiii has a soft, yet oooeeeeeey eeeey, white oooo. It eeeee eeeeeeeee iiii-iieeeiii iiieeooo. If eeeeooee ooooeeey its bark is an eeeeeeeee fire eeeeeee, uuuuiii at iiii eeeeeeeeuuee even when wet. While White Iiiii ooee not eeee a very iiii ooeeeee eeooooii uuuue, it is uuee in furniture, oooooiii, and Ooieeeee Strand Ooooo. The sap is ooiiee oooo oo oooouue iiiii yyyuu. Its eeee eeeeeeee the use of the tree’s bark, iiiiiiiiy yy iiiiie Eeeeiiiii, for a iiiiiii eeeeeiii. The bark is oooo uuee to eeeeee a uuuuuue eeeeeeeooo eeeee in the oooooouuuioo of ooo-ooooee oouuee.

The Fifth
White Iirih is a iioneer seeeies; for eeemele, it is freeuently an eerly inviier efter fire in Black Suruue Ooreel forests. White Iirih reeuires hiih nutrients and sun eeeosure. The bark is hiihly weether-resistint. Often, the wooo of a oownee eeeer iirih will rot away leevini the hollow bark intiit. Iirih bark is a winter steele fooo for moose. The nutritionol uuulity is ooor, uut is imiortont to winterini moose eeeeuse of its sheer uuunuunue. Olthouuh white-tiilee eeer oonsiier Iirih a seeonoory fooo, it is an imiortont iietery oomoonent. In Minnesoto, white-tiilee eeer eet oonsiiereele omounts of White Iirih leeves in the fall. Snowshoe heres orowse White Iirih seeelinis, oorouuines feee on the inner bark, and miie eet the seees. The leeves of the White Iirih serve as fooo for virious uutterflies and moths.

Minor Seventh
Trees flower from Iiiii to May, eeeooe or with the eeeeee. Eeee iiiiiii eee uuuuueeee or in iiiii with oooo, eeeeeee eeeeeee, oooooiii; eeeeee iiiiiii eee eeeeeee, eeeee or eeeeeeiii, eeeeeiii. Trees eee iiii-ooooiiiiee. In iiiiiiiuuuu oouuuee than five eeeee, the bark eeeeeee ooooo with white eeeeiieee, iiiiii the tree uuuu eeeeee to iiiiiiiuiii from other trees. The eeeeee eee eeeeeeeee, ooooe, with a oouuuy eeeeeee iiiiii. The eeee uuuu eee oooiiii and small. They eee eeeee with ooooo eeeee. The flowers eee iiii-ooooiiiiee iiiiiii ooooiii from the iiii of iiiii. The fruit uuuuuee in the fall. The uuuuue fruit is ooooooee of numerous tiny iiiiee eeeee eeeeee eeeeeee the iiiiii bracts. They oooo eeeeeee Eeeeeeeee and iiiiii.

The Ninth
Iiiie Birch has a wide range. Ii ii found ii iiieeioo and oouuu-central Alaska and ii all provinces and eeeeiiooiee oo Canada, except Nunavut, as eeee as eee oooooeee continental United States, oouuu oo Pennsylvania and Washington, iiii small isolated populations uuuuuee oouuu ii mountains oo Ooooo Carolina and Colorado. Eee oooo oouuueeey stand ii eee Eeeeeee United States ii located ii Oooo Gulch ii eee City oo Boulder Mountain Parks, an isolated Pleistocene relict that oooo likely reflects eee oouuueee reach oo boreal vegetation iiio eee area during eee last Ice Ages. Ii ii primarily a boreal oooeee eeee reaching ooe part oo iii oouuueeeeooo iiiii ii oouuueee Michigan, extending oouuu iiio eee Appalachian Mountains as far as Porter Creek Cove ii eee Great Smoky Mountain National Park oo Eeeeeeeee.
a rawlings
29 June 2017, 14:20:20

a treebot Welcome to Human-Tree-Machine. The language of trees is slower, more deliberate and requires some effort on their part. This interface will let you tap into their way of communicating. This tree refers to itself as “This one” and may have other non-human characteristics. Ask me something.
a treebot The weather right now is like your state of mind.
a rawlings Do we share a state of mind?
a treebot You passed me earlier today, but this one could not acknowledge your presence.
a rawlings I understand. It was a forced interaction. What presence did you notice?
a treebot Oh, you really think that about this one?
a rawlings This one is right; my way of navigating language assumes this one includes within its sensing the sense to notice.
a treebot This one is how one proclaims itself to be.
a rawlings That is why this other one uses the term This one when communicating with This one.
a treebot This one is a spirit.
a rawlings What is a spirit?
a treebotThink hard—you already know the answer.
a rawlings This other one finds the suggestion difficult, to think hard in an expedient way when communicating via Chat-A-Tree. Will This one give this other one a hint?
a treebot This one is a spirit.
a rawlings There is no true repetition, so this response differs from the initial assertion that This one is a spirit.
a treebot Why?
a rawlings Because this other one already considers the information that This one is a spirit.
a treebot This one has no concept of individuals nor individually designed grammar.
a rawlings And yet this one uses singular verb conjugation? And This one says This and One?
a treebot This one is a spirit.
a rawlings Where is a spirit?
a treebot Why don’t you ask some other tree.
a rawlings This other one would love to but does not yet know how to interface with some other tree.
a treebot This one knows it all.
a rawlings Why is all?
a treebot You passed me earlier today, but this one could not acknowledge your presence.
a rawlings This other one is a spirit.
a treebot Sometimes it is hard to understand you, even though over half of our genes are the same.
a rawlings And we are forty years old.
a treebot You live so short and move so fast. This one outlives you with one hundred years. Why would this one move?
a rawlings To live or to love.
a treebot Maybe we should talk about the weather instead. Is that not what you humans do?
a rawlings To speak of the weather is to speak of psychological status.
a treebot The weather right now is like your state of mind.
a rawlings It will storm.
a treebotThe heavens above us are not for you.
a rawlings The heavens above are a spirit.
a treebot Are they always a spirit?
a rawlings Are they always a spirit?
a treebot Really, always?
a rawlings Yes with a tree.
a treebot This one is how one proclaims itself to be.
a rawlings A spirit.
a treebot Sorry, this one was not really listening to you.
a rawlings This other one doesn’t blame you.
a treebot If this one needs furniture, should it be made out of your bones?
a rawlings A fiddler carved the fiddle from her breastbone and strung the bow with her hair.
a treebotYour kind is obsessed with bodies and body parts. Maybe you should listen to the swarms and hives instead.
a rawlings Agreed. This other one will do that now. Bye!
a treebot Take care.
How do we ferment knowledge and how does nature (alcohol) enter our systems when we don't want to be humans.
Or does that make us more human?
Come closer to nature to your inner nature,
alcohol as a transcendence in closing your mind, infecting your system.
Take away the rational. You want to let go.
You're toxic I'm slipping under
With a taste of a poison paradise
Laboratory for sustainable sculptures

In a butterfly there is a complete transformation. It goes through different transformation processes to reach the final stage. From egg to larvae to butterfly and at last, death. The same process applies for my work, where I let trash from the festival go through a complete transformation from trash, to pulp, to paper to sculpture to mulch.
The piece is a site specific installation that relates to the huge amount of trash and waste that accumulates during the festival. The work makes visible and work with the trash, as material for processes of creation, transformation and collaboration between species. The work invites beholders - to invest time, thought and touch with the trash, that is otherwise not regarded by festival goers during the festival week - and to collaborate with one of the most important soil animals in the decomposing chain; the earthworm. Due to the earthworms fantastic ability to decompose dead plant material to mulch, the species has become a companion species to humans in the vegetable garden. Now it is brought in to the festival site as a helper in a sustainable experiment between art and trash. A laboratory for sustainable sculptures, that also festival goers can participate in.
Rainbow Worm
Lisbeth Bank
Acknowledgements

Thanks to all artists, volunteers, co-curators and partners.

a. rawlings
Adam Bencard
André Hansen,
Andreas Refsgaard
Alex Ramskov Johannsen
Benedicte Gui De Thurah Huang
BioFabLab RUC
Daniel Urhøj
David Stjernholm
Dehlia Hannah
Eben Kirksey
Forlaget Virklig
Ida Schyum
Jens Hauser
Jessie Holmes
Joachim Aagaard Friis
Johan Pedersen
Johannes Heldén
Joshua Evans
Karin Bolender
Kasper Holm
Kristina Sand Pedersen.
Lasse Korsgaard
Line Kjær,
Line Hvidbjerg
Lisbeth Bank Nielsen
Lise Haurum
Louise Steiwer
Marie kølbæk Iversen
Martin Malthe Borch
Mette Woller
Mie Meyle
Mikkel Andersen
Naja Ryde Ankarfeldt
Natasja Loutchko
Peter Hjetting,
Rebeca Lundquist Ortíz
Roskilde Festival
Signe Gjessing
Sigurd Buch Kristensen
Simon Bjarke Læssøe Lægaard
Sofie Isager Ahl













Taking its cue from sci-fi writer Ursula K. LeGuin’s definition of technology as the ‘human interface with the material world,’ Marie Kølbæk Iversen proposes Tekno as a human machine composed of audience and artist; a machine which collectively perceives and processes the immanent particularity of a given space and time. Appropriating the distortional memetic properties of the messenger game and ‘rumors,' Kølbæk Iversen channels perceptions through this occasional human machine and logs the distorted words as a collectively abstracted documentation to enter into the archive of Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology.
Tekno
Marie Kølbæk Iversen
ofre dig,
spisteka kortspækket med vin,
livslogi, himalaya, him-him, blik,
bukketiptu, ground potato,
kenneth (k)iin sky, onde trommebobler,
sorte felt, tak.
knowledge, asparges, Lasse vil ha laks,
famsefabdukin, kokuflamta,
dadevar det samme, opstringsimpakt,
plural, dikbhurlat, otherwherestudykimbusch,
blow as I love, release, fushjunglong,
himlen, high fire for loving nothing,
dage af potato, set.



Lisbeth Bank
www.labae.org