2023 - 2030

Participating artists:
Eli Mai Huang Nesse(2023)
Gry Stokkendahl Dalgas(2024)
Franciska Eliassen(2025) 

Nældens takvinge

Nældens takvinge is a long-term book project involving multiple authors, artists, and species. The book or poetry collection revolves around the life cycle of the butterfly Nældens takvinge (Aglais urticae), which the book is materially dependent on.

When a butterfly has just emerged from its pupa, it excretes a red drop called meconium. Every year, I collect some of these drops for this project. These meconium drops are then transformed into ink to write poems with. Each year, a new artist or poet is chosen to create a poem or text-based work using ink made in the current year. 

The poetry collection will conclude in 2030.

The process in detail:
Around April every year Aglais urticae wakes up from its winter hibernation and starts to mate and lay eggs on the nettles. In May those eggs will hatch and the caterpillars will crawl out onto the nettles which provides them with both housing and food. A few of these caterpillars are collected from a meadow near my house at Hauketo, Oslo and brought into my home and daily life. The following weeks I am occupied by gathering stingy nettles for them to eat, checking that the temperature and light is right and experiencing the changes the larvae go through. Just before they take their first flight and are released back to the meadow the butterflies leave the red meconium drops behind. The meconium is a rest product from the pupae that the butterfly expels right after leaving the chrysalis. It is a natural thing all butterflies do. Then starts the process of making the ink for the poem, this being a tedious process of making sure none of the meconium is wasted and that the ink will still be biodegradable and organic. When the ink is ready it is handed over to the poet who has followed the former process closely. The poet will then handwrite their final poem which will be documented for the future book. The original poem with the meconium ink will be recycled back to the meadow where the caterpillars were first found thus ending the project's year-cycle and fertilizing the soil for the next.

All surplus from eventual sales of books will be donated to SABIMA (Council for biodiversity) who is dedicated to save and maintain habitats for insects like Aglais urticae.