SUPERFLEX – Join a Cockroach Tour of a Science Museum

Would you like to take a look at contemporary humans from the wisened perspective of the planet's true survivors?

SUPERFLEX provided this opportunity by organizing "Cockroache Tours of the Science Museum" in London from 2011 to 2013. They announced, "Having outlived the dinosaurs, what will they make of our obsessions with speed, time... and burning things? Put yourself in their shells. Sign up with your friends and family for A Cockroach Tour of the Science Museum and get an inquisitive take on the human race."

SUPERFLEX cockroach

Amelia Gregory produced a vivid report of her experience as a cockroach in the museum. She and other volunteers were led to a cockroach dressing room that SUPERFLEX located in the front of the museum in full view of the non-participating public. The cockroach regalia consisted of a hooded contraption that fit over the head and extended down the back. Six skinny, angled legs protruded from the sides. Amelia comments, “These are made of fibre glass and that rubbery stuff that you find in lots of kid’s toys these days. Hardly sustainably sound in itself, but very fun, even if my shell did bang rather hard against the back of my knees as I scuttled around the exhibits.”

A similarly costumed actor led the group on a tour, stopping periodically to pose such astute questions as: “Why do humans eat pizza when the box is so much more preferable?”

The final destination was a newly constructed, interactive exhibition that featured Climate Change wizardry. Today, November 30, 2015 is the first day of the Climate Summit in Paris. As such, it is timely to consider the effect of global change from a non-human perspective. Although the news from Paris focuses on impending human crises, for cockroaches, a warming planet may represent just another blip in their multi-million-year evolutionary history. Perhaps SUPERFLEX has an idea that may only be superficially amusing. In truth, this work may be presenting us with a practical survival strategy. We humans would be well-served to listen intently to our cockroach guides, especially as they comment on the scientific and technological achievements displayed throughout the science museum. We might learn from them how to become self-sustaining adapters.