Various locations on and around the High Line
Insectageddon is a collective performance and call to action presented by artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña. The event addresses the devastating loss of insect populations around the world due to the immense scale of toxic industrial farming, pesticides, and habitat destruction. Insectageddon celebrates the millions of insects that visit and make their home on the High Line every year. Vicuña uses the wild and lively landscape of the park to remind us of the importance of insects for maintaining our vegetal world, as well as all living beings that rely on plants to live.
Cecilia Vicuña is an artist and poet based in New York City originally from Santiago, Chile. Vicuña’s work connects deeply with the changing realities of natural and political realms. In her precarios (works made of natural and industrial debris) and quipus (large hanging installations of knotted skeins made of unspun wool), she embraces the impermanence of material realities in our world, celebrates unexpected magical moments of transformation, and mourns the loss of nature’s beauty that we ourselves precipitate.
Insectageddon takes place as part of the High Line’s annual Horticulture Celebration as an expanded festival on the High Line and at dozens of partner sites across New York City and around North America. Learn more about our site partners. The work follows the life cycle of the butterfly: from life, through death, and back to life anew, and centers the voices of children as today’s leaders in climate change activism. For the event, Vicuña and the event’s partners bring together artists, activists, citizen scientists, climate change scholars, entomologists, performers, and most importantly, young people, in an effort to both reflect and raise awareness for our interconnectedness in the web of life.
Please note that the High Line has a timed-entry reservation system on weekends. For entry to the park, make a timed-entry reservation. No separate reservation is needed for the event.
Speaker & performer series
3 – 6pm
At the 10th Avenue Overlook at 17th Street
Poets, scientists, artists, and climate activists speak about their work involving insects and ways we can move forward together. Presentations will take place in the 10th Avenue Overlook at 17th Street. Speakers include: sixth-grade entomologist Anusha Vaish; mycologist Giuliana Furci; renowned activist Bertha Lewis; bee biologist and Field Associate at the American Museum of Natural History Sarah Kornbluth; High Line staff gardener Scout Kerensky-Coodley; Cecilia Vicuña and musician Ricardo Gallo; and the revered theatrical troupe Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir; among others.
3 – 4pm
The Backyard at Hudson Yards
Near 32nd Street and 11th Avenue
8 – 9pm
In the 14th Street Passage, on the High Line at 14th Street
Artists and filmmakers present a series of videos and short films exploring the profound creativity and ingenuity of insects. The series features:
Aaron Huey, There is No Us Without Them (2021)
Cecilia Vicuña with Riccardo Gallo and Robert Kolodny, Death of the Pollinators (2021)
Pedro Neves Marques, YWY, The Android (2017)
Matthew Wilson, Geological Evidences (2017)
Maria Fernanda Cardoso, On the Origins of Art I & II (2016)
Isabella Rosellini, Green Porno: Bee, Mantis, Spider (2008)
Cecilia Vicuña, Rari en New York (Directed by Jody Shapiro and Isabella Rossellini)
3 – 6pm
In the Chelsea Market Passage, on the High Line between 15th and 16th streets
Celebrating Insects: Insect masks and endangered and beneficial insects
Hosted by High Line Education
During this workshop, we’ll explore why insects are important and what we can do to protect them. After learning about endangered insects and why insects are important, participants will be invited to create an insect mask inspired by four endangered insects that call New York State home. Participants will use paper, markers, cardstock, and string to design their mask, choosing to create pop-up elements or decorate the mask with drawing supplies.
Celebrating Insects: Cecilia Vicuña, artist spotlight and mini wire insect sculptures
Hosted by High Line Education
In this workshop, participants will learn about Cecilia Vicuña and her body of work. Participants will create a small wire sculpture of an insect out of various wire materials. This sculpture will be attached to a pencil to mimic the movement of insects while writing or drawing. These sculptures reference Cecilia’s insect hat, as well as wire kinetic sculpture that will appear during the festival.
Celebrating Insects: Exploring native bees on the High Line
Hosted by High Line Education
In this experience, participants will learn about the essential role different kinds of native bees play on the High Line, what they need to thrive, and how pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change threaten their survival. Participants will be invited to explore a bee box by taking it apart and putting it together, learn about the different types of native bees in the “Which bee lives where?” matching game, and draw different kinds of native bees found on the High Line.
Hosted by Chris Kreussling, aka “Flatbush Gardener”
Join Chris Kreussling for a walk on the High Line to explore plant and insect interactions and learn about the citizen scientist observation gathering tool iNaturalist. Tours begin at 3:30 and 4:45; please sign up upon arrival at Chris’s table in Chelsea Market Passage. Chris is a Brooklyn naturalist and gardener specializing in gardening with native plants to create habitat for pollinators and other invertebrates.
Native Plant Finder Workshop
Hosted by Sarah Ward, National Wildlife Federation
Did you know that a native oak tree can support the caterpillars over 500 species of butterflies and moths? When it comes to attracting beautiful bees, butterflies, and birds to your yard or community garden, the best thing you can do is use native plants. Join National Wildlife Federation to explore their Native Plant Finder which will help you find the best native plants for your specific zip code that attract butterflies, moths, and the birds that feed on their caterpillars.
3:30 – 6pm
At various locations on the High Line
Francisca Benitez and Sunder Ganglani, Bombus impatiens and other harmonies
On the Flyover, on the High Line between 25th. and 27th streets
Benitez and Ganglani will present a harmonizing vocal duet inspired by the Latin and common names of the insects found on the High Line in synchronicity with an ASL interpreter.
Christy Gast, Goldenrod Transect
Meet on the High Line at Gansevoort Street
Gast will present a durational performative walk around a native plant found in several locations throughout the High Line, goldenrod. Gast will have with her a giant soft sculpture of a goldenrod, as a prop for educational, creative, and interactive collaboration with the public. The performance will travel between Gansevoort Street and 16th Street.
Poet’s ANThology (A living ANThology)
Throughout the park
Invited poets will perform at different spots throughout the High Line, spontaneously in conversation with guests. Poets will be wearing insect cyborgian costumes designed by Cecilia Vicuña and created by Gregory Corbino. The Poet’s ANThology will culminate at the 10th Avenue Overlook with a poetry performance by Cecilia Vicuña. Poets include Omar Berrada, Lee Ann Brown, Laynie Brown, Brenda Coultas, Latasha Diggs, Marcella Durand, Lucía Hinojosa Gaxiola, E.J. McAdams, Sarah Riggs, Eleni Sikelianos, Edwin Torres, and Anne Waldman.