The Metamorphosis of a Periplaneta Americana
performance, 2015-2020

The Metamorphosis of a Periplaneta Americana shifts the philosophical and scientific questioning of COGITO in Space from the realm of humans to the realm of insects, such as a locust and a cockroach. Initiated in 2015, the project took first shape in April 2020.

Whereas COGITO in Space focuses on the subjective, inner experience of the participant traveling into space with their mind, The Metamorphosis exploits the procedure of transmitting the neural activity of insects into the cosmos to pose the hard questions if subjectivity could be attributed to such living species and how to possibly communicate or even empathize with them.

The Metamorphosis aims to use outer space as a magnifying medium and as a long lasting recording system, expanding in time and space the enigmatic existential experience of living beings. In this first stage of the project I transmitted the audio recording of neural activity extracted from a locust’s and a cockroach’s legs movement into space, using the Bochum Radio Observatory in Germany.” De Paulis, Daniela, 2021. “The Metamorphosis of a Periplaneta Americana.” Leonardo MIT Journal,Volume 54, 1. MIT Press.

A Periplaneta americana. Photo by Gary Alpert (Wikimedia)