Hieronymus Bugs

Carnival 2023

Across the country, communities are attempting to contend with large-scale changes and reconcile narratives that are not reflected in our public consciousness or environment. Inspired by the efforts in recent years for minority groups to reclaim monuments and other public markers, Interrobang focuses its 2023 Carnival efforts on the challenge of how to make the unseen seen.

In particular, Interrobang wants to attract your attention to the pollinators and other local insects. We rely on these creatures to sustain our broader ecosystem but many currently face existential challenges due to a decrease in the native plants that they thrive on. Taking to the streets is an opportunity for us to be a spectacle, and what could be better than spectacular, larger-than-life bugs, inspired by local species, asserting their presence to the crowds?

This Mardi Gras, Interrobang brings you interactive bugs. We hope to trap your attention and through our throws, invite you to learn more about the local insects that surround us. We channel the surreal influence of Hieronymus Bosch to create a “triptych” of heavenly, earthly, and hell-ish delights. Let there be bugs.

Poke Cards

Carnival 2023

By killing insects, we are biting the hands that feed us, and that has led to the most alarming statistic of all: invertebrate abundance (the number of insects) has been reduced by 45 percent globally since 1974.

Insects, then, sustain the earth’s ecosystems by sustaining the plants and animals that run those ecosystems.  And the more plants and animals the better.  As you’ve learned, ecosystems with many interacting species are more stable, more productive, and better able to support huge human populations than depauperate ecosystems with few species.  Insects also provide much of the planet’s pest control in the form of millions of species of predators and parasitoids that keep food webs in balance. Insects rapidly decompose dead plants, releasing the nutrients they contain for use by new plant life. And by keeping the planet well-vegetated, insects maintain the watersheds in which we all live, keeping our water clean and minimizing the frequency and severity of floods. As if all of that were not enough, the plants that insects pollinate sequester enormous amounts of carbon within their bodies and within the soil around their roots, carbon that would otherwise be in the atmosphere, wreaking havoc on the earth’s climate.

… We are winning our undeclared war against insects at our own peril. Precipitous declines in populations of the European honey bee, the 4000 species of bees native to North America, and beautiful butterflies such as the monarch and the Karner blue have gotten our attention, but many other insects are disappearing without notice. We have already driven three North American species of bumblebees to extinction, and in Europe, about 30 percent of the insects in Germany have declined in abundance and diversity — 79 percent since 1989, and 46 species of butterflies and moths have disappeared from German soil altogether. Similar statistics are coming to light in England and other parts of Europe. By killing insects, we are biting the hands that feed us, and that has led to the most alarming statistic of all: invertebrate abundance (the number of insects) has been reduced by 45 percent globally since 1974.

page 126 from Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard by Douglas W. Tallamy

Check out our sweet video montage…

PICTURES OF INTERROBANG AND OUR HIERONYMUS BUGS