Gerriets: A Drama for 10,000 Locusts

heuschrecken_0533_web.jpgLocusts can form huge swarms that turn into devastating plagues of biblical dimensions – that's the image we remember from horror films or from politicians' attacks on the practices of aggressive speculators. Approx. 10 000 of the insects are now performers on the stage of the Schauspielhaus Zurich.

Gerriets' role was to provide the transparent film that covers the huge terrarium in Zurich holding the insects in place.

More Performers than Spectators

In June 2009 Swiss artist Stefan Kaegi chose Gerriets to build the 16 m long by 5.5 m wide and 1.8 m high ( 52 x 18 x 6 ft) terrarium for his theater project “Heuschrecken” (locusts). Gerriets used its flame retardant 3 mm thick transparent vinyl film for the project.

Approx. 10.000 locusts populate a set built of sand and wheat: a natural habitat in exile. Observed through cameras and binoculars, the staged process is set to music.

Migration researchers, food engineers, astronomers and entomologists embark on an expedition into an alien insect world measuring 50 m2 (538 ft2) deepening their exploration from day to day. Together, with the spectators, they try to find answers to the questions: Who eats the most, and what happens if there's not enough for everyone? How does life function without water? How does the locust population self-organize, what are the effects of changes in their habitat?

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