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Apiary investigations
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Title: Apiary investigations
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Rogers, Kelly M.
Publisher: College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Copyright Date: 2010
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Abstract: Apiary Investigations is a multi-media art project based on two years of research carried out in response to a fascination with the honeybee and the fact that entire honeybee colonies are becoming displaced, unable to make sense of their surroundings and unable to decipher where they belong. As exiles, the bees wander through nature and then vanish without a trace. The possibility of a world without honeybees and other pollinators is a harsh reality humans will have to face in the near future. The consequences for the life of plants (flora) in our immediate environment and for agriculture production could be devastating. The art I produced in response to this crisis involves installations that incorporate videos, performance, poetic writings, drawings, maps, actual beehives, observational hives, various beekeeping equipment, photographs and sculptures. The art works in Apiary Investigations are designed to create an awareness of the environmental issues pertinent to the disappearance of bees and to introduce the general public to “bee culture.” In addition, the artworks employ the beehive, swarming and an array of bee actions as proposed metaphorical models for the improvement of human social relations, architecture and behavior. Ecology and the politics of nature have become an increasingly central theme in my artistic practice and in international forums of contemporary art since the seventies. My work attempts to make a contribution to this field of artistic knowledge by expanding the context of production of artworks into the realm of concrete actions in the environment and in society. The installation titled “Observation Station: Attempts at Navigation” was a temporary mobile exhibition and informative, relational art piece installed at the Samuel P. Harn Museum (coincidently next to the Natural History Museum), in Gainesville, FL. This temporary station occupied two locations in the museum. Museum visitors could see actual observational hives on the front lawn of the Harn and also visit a reading station I created in the Harn’s Bishop Study Center. Informational texts, provided for the public, explained the vital role honeybees play in pollination, the devastating effects of Colony Collapse Disorder and practical steps to help the survival of honeybees and other pollinators. The platforms for my work extend beyond the walls of the gallery space and into the realms of the public. My audience is multifaceted and my work thrives on these rich and diverse social interactions. My dedication to researching the bees for the past two years has allowed me to have hands-on, practical experience while meeting countless beekeepers and scientists, attending Bee College, moving hives, assisting in the research at the Entomology Department, photographing bees and mites. Maintaining a number of hives on my own has been intrinsic to my work and has been an amazing, challenging and humbling endeavor.
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Copyright
        Page 2
    Dedication
        Page 3
    Acknowledgement
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Abstract
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Main
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
Full Text





APIARY INVESTIGATIONS


By

KELLY M. ROGERS














A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF FINE ARTS

U NIVE RS ITY O F F LORI DA

2010

































@ 2010 Kelly M. Rogers



























To the beloved honeybee









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my committee members Sergio Vega and Sean Miller who

have been a tremendous source of inspiration and support. I would also like to thank

my parents and my family, as well as all of my colleagues in sculpture and in the fine

arts. I am indebted to my beekeeping mentor Wayne "Chappie" McChesney for his

generosity and dedication to saving honeybees and teaching others about caring for

bees. I would also like to thank Celeste Roberge and Brad Smith for their instruction

and guidance; Michael Christopher, my advocate, for his encouragement, kindness and

assistance.











TABLE OF CONTENTS




AC KN OW LED GM E NTS ................ ................4. ...........

LIST OF FIGURES ................. ................6. ......... ....


ABSTRACT. ................. ................7. ...............

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION .................. .................. 9..............


Bees in Culture ................... ............... ................10.....
Brief History of the Honeybee................ ................ 11
The Beehive Metaphor. ............. ..... .. .............. 12...
Honeybee Epidemic and Pollination................ ..............1
Bees in Contemporary Art ............ ......_ ....__ ............1

2 APIARY INVESTIGATIONS .........._..... ................19.__._ ......


Observation Station: Attempts at Navigation ...._._._.. .......___.. ........_..........19
In and Out of the Hive ................. ................21..............
Interview with a Bee .................. ................23........ .....


3 ON THE FUTURE COLLABORATIONS BETWEEN HUMANS AN D BEES ...........35


LIST OF RE FERENCES ............ ..... ._ _ ................38..


B I OG RAP H ICA LS KE TC H ................. .................. 39......... .










LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

1-1 Beuys, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965) .........._.._.... ........_... ....18

1-2 J. Morgan Puett, The Grafter's Shack (2002) ........._.._.. ....._.._ ........._...... 18

2-1 Detail of bees, Observation Station (2010) ..........._._ ....... ..._ ........._........25

2-2 Reading Station, Bishop Study Center, Harn Museum (2010)..............._..__..........25

2-3 Detail, Observation Station, Harn Museum (2010) ..........._._ ...... ..._.._...........26

2-4 Detail, Diagram of honeybee waggle dance frame, (2010) ..........._..... ...............26

2-6 The Bees and me, Observation Station, Harn Museum (2010) ................. .........27

2-7 Detail frame, Diagram of human and honeybee vision (2010)................... ..........28

2-8 Installation view, Observation Station, Harn Museum (2010) ..........._..................28

2-9 Installation view, Observation Station, Harn Museum (2010) ..........._..................29

2-10 Detail, Observation Station, Harn Museum (2010) ................_ ................._.....29

2-11 Detail of bees, Observation Station (2010) ..........._._ ....... ..._ ........._........30

2-12 Installation view, Video projections, Harn Museum (2010). ........._...... ........._.....30

2-13 Still from video, Interview with a Bee (2009) ..........._._ ....... .._ ..........._......31

2-14 Still from video, Interview with a Bee (2009) .........._.._. ......_. .........._.._....31

2-15 Still from video, Interview with a Bee (2009) .........._.._. ......_. .........._.._....32

2-16 New queen bee from my hive .........._._ ......__ .... ................3

2-17 Bee College, St. Augustine ........._.. ....... ................33.....

2-18 Established swarm removed from house and relocated................ ................33

2-19 Established swarm removed from house and relocated................ ................34

3-1 Honeybees training to detect explosives by feeding on sugar water mixed
with traces of tnt ........._.. ....... __ ............... 37...









Abstract of Project Presented to the College of Fine Arts
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts

APIARY INVESTIGATIONS

By

Kelly M. Rogers

August 2010

Chair: Sergio Vega
Major: Art

Apiary Investigations is a multi-media art project based on two years of research

carried out in response to a fascination with the honeybee and the fact that entire

honeybee colonies are becoming displaced, unable to make sense of their surroundings

and unable to decipher where they belong. As exiles, the bees wander through nature

and then vanish without a trace. The possibility of a world without honeybees and other

pollinators is a harsh reality humans will have to face in the near future. The

consequences for the life of plants (flora) in our immediate environment and for

agriculture production could be devastating. The art I produced in response to this crisis

involves installations that incorporate videos, performance, poetic writings, drawings,

maps, actual beehives, observational hives, various beekeeping equipment,

photographs and sculptures.

The art works in Apiary Investigations are designed to create an awareness of the

environmental issues pertinent to the disappearance of bees and to introduce the

general public to "bee culture." In addition, the artworks employ the beehive, swarming

and an array of bee actions as proposed metaphorical models for the improvement of

human social relations, architecture and behavior.









Ecology and the politics of nature have become an increasingly central theme in

my artistic practice and in international forums of contemporary art since the seventies.

My work attempts to make a contribution to this field of artistic knowledge by expanding

the context of production of artworks into the realm of concrete actions in the

environment and in society.

The installation titled "Observation Station: Attempts at Navigation" was a

temporary mobile exhibition and informative, relational art piece installed at the Samuel

P. Harn Museum coincidentlyy next to the Natural History Museum), in Gainesville, FL.

This temporary station occupied two locations in the museum. Museum visitors could

see actual observational hives on the front lawn of the Harn and also visit a reading

station I created in the Harn's Bishop Study Center. Informational texts, provided for the

public, explained the vital role honeybees play in pollination, the devastating effects of

Colony Collapse Disorder and practical steps to help the survival of honeybees and

other pollinators.

The platforms for my work extend beyond the walls of the gallery space and into

the realms of the public. My audience is multifaceted and my work thrives on these rich

and diverse social interactions. My dedication to researching the bees for the past two

years has allowed me to have hands-on, practical experience while meeting countless

beekeepers and scientists, attending Bee College, moving hives, assisting in the

research at the Entomology Department, photographing bees and mites. Maintaining a

number of hives on my own has been intrinsic to my work and has been an amazing,

challenging and humbling endeavor.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Apiary Investigations is a multi-media art project based on two years of research

carried out in response to a fascination with the honeybee and the fact that entire

honeybee colonies are becoming displaced, unable to make sense of their surroundings

and unable to decipher where they belong. As exiles, the bees wander through nature

and then vanish without a trace. The possibility of a world without honeybees and other

pollinators is a harsh reality humans will have to face in the near future. The

consequences for the life of plants (flora) in our immediate environment and for

agriculture production could be devastating. The art I produced in response to this crisis

involves installations that incorporate videos, performance, poetic writings, drawings,

maps, actual beehives, observational hives, various beekeeping equipment,

photographs and sculptures.

The art works in Apiary Investigations are designed to create an awareness of the

environmental issues pertinent to the disappearance of bees and to introduce the

general public to "bee culture." In addition, the artworks employ the beehive, swarming

and an array of bee actions as proposed metaphorical models for the improvement of

human social relations, architecture and behavior.

Ecology and the politics of nature have become an increasingly central theme in

my artistic practice and in international forums of contemporary art since the seventies.

My work attempts to make a contribution to this field of artistic knowledge by expanding

the context of production of artworks into the realm of concrete actions in the

environment and in society.









Bees in Culture

Honeybees have a longstanding and complex relationship to human society.

Appealing to people's sense of superstition, admiration, curiosity and wonder,

honeybees are found in art and literature going back to the beginning of recorded

history. In ancient Egypt, the bee signified the divinity of the land and was a symbol for

Lower Egypt. In Hellenistic Greece, Ellis explains how the appearance of a bee

hovering over a newborn's mouth was read as an omen (61). Frequently, people would

visit the hive to inform the bees of important family affairs. Often characterized as

muses, bees have been incorporated into numerous ceremonies, which bear striking

similarity even in cultures separated by geography and history. The practice of "Telling

of the Bees" was a highly revered and elaborate ceremony, from 17th century England,

requiring a child to rush to the location of the hive as a loved one breathed his or her

last breath. The child would rattle a set of keys over the hive, then tap the hive three

times and whisper, "Little Brownies, little brownies, your mistress is dead. Little

Brownies, little brownies, your mistress is dead. Little Brownies, little brownies, your

mistress is dead"(Museum of Jurassic Technology, 2008,."Tell the Bees," para 23).

Funeral sweets were offered to the bees, as well as an invitation for them to attend the

funeral ceremony.

In The Life of the Bee, written in 1901, Maeterlinck states, "The first time that we

open the hive comes over us an emotion akin to that we might feel at profaning some

unknown object, charged perhaps with dreadful surprise, as a tomb" (Sutro 27). With

the age of Enlightenment came the invention of the observation hive, whose

transparency and elaborate design continued to evolve so that all of the bees' activities









could be observed. Our knowledge of the hive has always been limited, for even when

the bees appear as if they are resting, "it takes time to distinguish the manifold activity

contained in this inertia," explains Maeterlinck (Sutro 30).

The hive and the honeybee have been consulted in the construction of the world's

metaphors, buildings, stories and cities. While diligently working, the hive offers a model

for exceptional creativity and productivity and, when swarming, the hive is a "locus of

frenetic activity" (Hollingsworth 6). The bees perform an act of alchemy by filling their

nest with wax and honey and "furnishing mankind with the two noblest things," wrote

poet Swift (1667-1745), "which is sweetness and light" (Ellis 1). As a social insect, the

honeybee's existence revolves around the unity of the hive as a collective. The

honeybee captures the human imagination, especially as it dances to communicate

complex ideas pertaining to space, distance, location and desire.

Brief History of the Honeybee

Honeybees (Apis Mellifera L.) are divided into various groups based on their

species, region, race and breeding line. Although approximately 20,000 species of bees

exist, honeybees are the only living members of the tribe Apini, under the genus Apis.

The honeybee is native to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East and was later introduced

to the Americas in the 16th century and to the rest of the world. On average, 60,000

honeybees live and work within the hive. As a matriarchal society, honeybees can be

divided into three separate castes: the queen, female workers and a few hundred male

drones. Depending on their age and gender, honeybees carry out specific

responsibilities, including nurses, foragers, guards, architects, royal attendants and

messengers, to name a few.









The Beehive Mletaphor

Although overly anthropomorphizing the honeybee as a social insect could lead to

skepticism on the part of the reader, the insect metaphor has been employed

throughout history, in literature, the arts and folklore. For example, in The Poetics of the

Hive, Hollingsworth both defines and analyzes the insect metaphor used by various

authors throughout history, including classic, contemporary and non-western literature.

While formulating a definition of "the Hive," Hollingsworth asserts, "The Hive is more

than a poetic convention-it is an experience in its own right that mediates between the

imagination and the phenomenal world and thus both shapes how we think and how we

see" (xi). Hollingsworth stresses the relevance of the hive as a collective symbol by

saying, "The Hive is constituted by the intersection of the body and the symbol, it must

be dealt with as a habit of the imagination that is at once universal and eternal, culturally

specific and mutable" (xxi).

Honeybee Epidemic and Pollination

In 2006, with the emergence of the honeybee epidemic Colony Collapse Disorder

(CCD), great concern spread among beekeepers and the general public world-wide.

Affecting their internal navigation system, CCD causes honeybees to become

disoriented upon leaving the hive during orientation or foraging flights. Although

honeybees are equipped with a powerful internal compass, CCD mysteriously causes

them to lose their direction, (becoming displaced), unable to return to the hive

(resembling exile). An astounding 30-90% of all the hives in the United States have

been affected by this epidemic and many commercial beekeepers have been forced to

find new vocations after being devastated with the loss of 50- 90% of their colonies









(Quarles 3). Beekeepers are astonished to discover colonies thriving weeks before

mysteriously disappeared, abandoning their queen, the brood, and all their resources.

People fail to realize the imperative role honeybees play in pollination and how

bees are intrinsically responsible for over one-third of the world's food production.

Honeybees permeate the fabric of our stories; influence the designs of our architecture;

and awaken our desire to dream, build and orient ourselves securely within the world.

The language and the noble attributes of the honeybee offer humans a new perspective

in viewing the world, where dance and movement (articulate the orientation of/ orient)

the individual within the world, as well as the individual positioned within the collective.

The honeybee's profound relationship with the world requires humans to reconfigure the

practice of beekeeping, with the interest and wellbeing of the ecosystem at heart: the

honeybee colony, humanity and the collective of humans, the bees and the entire

natural world. Scientists, researchers, thinkers, beekeepers and those whose

imagination has been captured, all convene to listen, interpret and intercede for the

livelihood of the honeybee.

If the ecosystem continues to break down at an accelerated rate, an increased

number of species will struggle to adapt to these extreme alterations. In The

Incomparable Honeybee, written as a response to the honeybee crisis, Halter describes

the resilient nature of honeybees, by saying, "Intricate communication enables each

colony to continuously respond to changing environmental factors" (3). To this date,

entire populations of bees have become extinct due to the destruction of their natural

habitats by "deforestation and widespread use of insecticides" (Halter 75). Halter

explains that in the province of Sichuan, China "entire native bumblebee and solitary









bee populations are extinct from years of toxicity. In turn, thousands of migrant workers

(men, women and children) dangle from pear tree limbs as they attempt to hand-

pollinate each flower" (75). In Mexico and Central America, the stingless honeybee that

pollinates the vanilla orchid, has already become extinct; consequently, humans are

struggling to hand-pollinate these plants. The honeybee species are exceedingly

resilient, ordered and eternal. They are experiencing such extreme disorientation within

nature that the structure of their society and ways of communicating are collapsing.

Bees in Contemporary Art

Our relation to nature is characterized by its having become thoroughly
disturbed. There is the threat of total destruction of our fundamental natural
basis. We are doing exactly what it takes to destroy this natural basis by
putting into action an economic system which consists in its unscrupulous
exploitation.-J oseph Beuys, (N oble 1 16)

Joseph Beuys', whose expansive artistic practice, which included, pedagogy,

political activism and theory, referred to his work as social sculpture. This term

emphasized the "plastic dimension of thought and its connection to action in the social

construction of lived reality" (Stiles 582). Much of his vocabulary as an artist was drawn

from the products and metaphors associated with the hive, such as his abundant use of

honey and wax, which became a potent symbol for transformation, expressing his

"semi-religious wish for a regenerative change to occur in man" (Rameriz 85). 1 Beuys

used honey in two major works: How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965) and

Honey Pump in the Workplace (1977).




SHoney was often regarded as a divine substance, given that its medicinal properties nourish and heal
the body. Accounting for honey's ability to preserve organic matter, in The Beehive Metaphor, Rameriz
writes, "Everyone knows the story of how Alexander the Great's body was transported to Greece in a bath
of honey, showing no signs of decomposition" (17).









In How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965), Beuys explained the meaning

of artistic creation for three hours to a dead hare, while the audience observed him

through a glass window outside the gallery. Protective layers of gold dust and honey

covered his face, while the audience struggled to interpret the mysterious murmurings

imparted to the motionless/dead animal sitting on his lap. The gesture of covering his

face with honey and gold can be interpreted as an act of renewal and transformation,

infusing the intellect with creative power. For Honey in the Workplace, Beuys placed a

motor in the stairwell of the Fridericianum Museum. The motor pumped honey as it

circulated through transparent tubing, emerging from the cellar and rising to the attic,

where it accumulated, before traveling down again. The honey passed throughout the

entire building, including a side room, which was designated as the temporary

headquarters of his Free International University. Beuys created "a complete circulatory

system that included the whole building, the whole temple of art, as if it were a beehive,

a unique 'social body': the motor acted as a heart, and the honey, once more, was a

symbolic substitute for blood (Ramirez 86). Beuys associated honey with artistic

creation and social perfection: "At the moment we must transform the individual Eros

into the collective Eros" (Ramirez 87). It could be argued that Beuys' iconography was

profoundly inspired by a careful consideration of the honeybee as a model for the

improvement of society.

"Mark Thompson (born 1950) is an installation artist whose experimental,

sculptural environments and performances explore the relationship between the

processes of nature and human action. He sees honeybees as a metaphor of

communication systems and the complex, intricate workings of life. The film Immersion









(1976) documents a swarm of bees gradually and almost completely covering the

artist's head, neck and bare chest, until the artist disappears little by little. The artist,

who has been a hobbyist beekeeper for many years, demonstrates his meditative skills

as he attaches the queen bee to his head and stands immobile while thousands of bees

follow their queen." The queen's intoxicating pheromones uphold the unity and stability

of the hive, and as long as her pheromones remain potent, the colony's devotion to the

queen is unyielding. Allowing bees to swarm upon the human body, by taking

advantage of their powerful attraction to the queen pheromone, is an ancient and

universal practice, referred to as a "beebeard," which some believe demonstrates an

affinity with the honeybee.

Mark Thompson uses "honeybees as a sculptural medium through which to
explore questions of time, space, physics, human communities and
interspecies communication. "His site-specific installations, sculptural
environments and performances included honeybees, beeswax, water,
sunlight, and the social, historical and physical aspects of the particular
site". He observed, "The honeybee hive and the beekeeper offer a
meaningful symbiotic guide towards nurturing interdependence and balance
for the larger human community. Within the process of caring for
honeybees, an essential spiritual relationship is formed with the natural
world. I believe that the honeybee hive and the activity of beekeeping
suggest a clear and powerful ecological model for human interaction in the
natural environment" (Stiles 582)

As part of a collaborative (2010 summer session) project titled "Radical Apiary,"

Thompson joined a group of local beekeepers, artists, scientists, and other

professionals in Pennsylvania at Mildred's Lane, to construct an apiary as part of a

permanent experiment "in collaboration with a most revered species, the Honey Bee."

Consistent with current practices in contemporary art, which seek to initiate exchange

and collaboration among artists, the public and institutions, Mildred's Lane (founded by

artists Mark Dion and J. Morgan Puett) is "an attempt to collectively create new modes









of being in the world. This idea incorporates questions of our relation to the

environment, systems of labor, forms of dwelling, new sociality- all of which compose an

ethics of comportment- and are embodied in work-styles." (Mildred's Lane is a "long-

term experiment in large-scale project, research and event-based practices with a living

museum and an educational institution attached.") Many of the artists who participated

in the apiary project at Mildred's Lane have used honeybees as the subject of their

work. For example, J. Morgan Puett, whose family has been practicing beekeeping for

four generations, with the help of local beekeepers, created The Grafter's Shack (2002)

which explored the concept of the artists' and designers' studio or workshop and was a

homage to the individual beekeeper or more specifically, the art of queen grafting.

Across the globe, individual artists are coming together to promote change through

radical acts of engagement and collaboration, which in turn filtrate through local

communities and provide "Alternative methods of research, collaboration, and learning."

Museums are also "learning from the art they present; in this case that means taking up

the challenge to make museums more sustainable spaces"(Green 17).




































Figure 1-1. Beuys, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965)


Figure 1-2. J. Morgan Puett, The Grafter's Shack (2002)









CHAPTER 2
APIARY INVESTIGATIONS

Observation Station: Attempts at Navigation

The installation titled "Observation Station: Attempts at Navigation" was a

temporary mobile exhibition and informative, relational art piece installed at the Samuel

P. Harn Museum, coincidentlyy next to the Natural History Museum) in Gainesville, FL.

This temporary station occupied two locations in the museum. Museum visitors could

see actual observational hives on the front lawn of the Harn and also visit a reading

station I created in the Harn's Bishop Study Center. Here people could spend time

researching various texts to learn about the life cycle, language, navigation and

behavior of honeybees, as well as advancements in beekeeping. Informational texts,

provided for the public, explained the vital role honeybees play in pollination, the

devastating effects of Colony Collapse Disorder and practical steps to help the survival

of honeybees and other pollinators.

Outside of the museum, the observation station was made of six hives, forming a

hexagon situated under a tent/canopy to prevent the bees from over-heating. Wooden

hexagonal cells, resembling the cells in a honeycomb, elevated the hives off the ground,

raising the bees close to the eye-level of the public/viewers. The station and all its

components are completely mobile and designed to break down and be re-installed with

ease, so I can address audiences and exhibit in a variety of contexts. The hexagon in

my work refers to the geometrical figure as an overall sign of perfect order and the most

efficient building block for architecture and design. The six observation hives formed a

hexagon in reference to Jorge Luis Borges' story "The Library of Babel". In the story, the

architecture of the library was made of infinite hexagonal galleries. "Idealists argue that









the hexagonal rooms are the necessary shape of absolute space, or at least of our

perception of space" (Hurley 1 13). Borges conceived the architecture of the library as a

form that can replicate itself and expand endlessly like a hive. This architectural

conception illustrates the endless capabilities of human productivity and knowledge to

strive for perfection and also illustrate the mystery of Babel as the matrix of all

languages. Thus the observation stations were conceived as a site for the acquisition of

knowledge from direct observation and reproducing the reproduction of that knowledge

through direct exchange in the public realm.

The hexagonal cells are 4 feet long and stacked horizontally, one on top of

another. Each hive holds three wooden frames, which are displayed vertically between

two sheets of glass. The transparency of the glass offers the public a glimpse into the

enigmatic world of the honeybee. With curiosity and awe, people approached the hives,

drawing nearest to the hive in the center, which contained the live bees. At the

observation stations, the hive was experienced collectively. Children and adults stared

with their eyes transfixed on the swarming activity just beneath the glass, and at times

only a sliver of space and glass separated the movement of the humans from the bees.

The place became a site of exchange saturated with questions, comments, stories and

recol elections.

Two of the hives had frames made of paper with symbols, maps and diagrams.

These were made of thick paper and the shapes were laser-cut. As light shone through

the paper frames, this strange cartography became discernible through a semi-

transparent layer of wax. On display was a diagram showing the difference in the range

of colors seen by humans and by honeybees. Attracted to certain colors in flowers,









honeybees do not see red, but do see ultraviolet light. The symbols on the frame

illustrate how bees' compound eyes polarize the light for orientation and how their

dance points to the direction where blooming flowers are, based on the position of the

sun. Other symbols used in lab experiments contained groups of shapes that bees can

recognize to identify their own hives, so they would not drift into the wrong hive

accidentally. I employed those symbols in reference to Borges' story. In "The Library of

Babel" there are symbols to be deciphered, "There are also letters on the front cover of

each book; those letters neither indicate nor prefigure what the pages inside will say"

(Hurley 113). Those symbols appear as indicators of a knowledge larger than human,

"In order to grasp the distance that separates the human and the divine, one has only to

compare these crude trembling symbols which my fallible hand scrawls on the cover of

a book with the organic letters inside-neat, delicate, deep black and inimitably

symmetrical" (Hurley 113). Given that the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder mainly

consist in bee's loss of memory and ability to navigate, the Observation Station

functioned as a control tower in an airport. With the purpose to assist the bees at

navigating in and out of the hive, the symbols and maps were strategically placed on the

frames of the hives, both to be seen by bees so they could identify their own hive and

for humans to interpret the art.

In and Out of the Hive

The video, In and Out of the Hive, which was projected onto the side of the

museum, shows a continuous stream of traffic pouring from the narrow entrance of a

hive. Bees are seen hastily emerging from the darkness of the hive's interior, where

they had been confined for weeks during an uninterrupted freeze. Now, breaking free

from their winter cluster, the bees push their way through the crowded entrance before









darting into the sky. Bees hover above the entrance board, weighted by dense sacks of

brightly colored pollen, clinging to the back of their legs. When a clearing opens, the

bees move in quickly and disappear into the hive. Simultaneously, a bee attempting to

leave the hive is abruptly interrupted, tackled and inspected by a succession of bees.

Once the bee is released, she meanders toward the edge of the landing board, and

then pauses to straighten her antennas before taking off.

The projected image of the hive merges almost seamlessly with the muted palette

and the architecture of the museum, and its content acquires a metaphorical dimension:

as bees go into the hive, so do people enter the museum. This metaphor invests the

museum with the attributes of the hive: the storage of precious substances and the site

of productivity. Key to my conception of this project is the reversal of roles addressing

bees as humans and humans as bees. For it is in this field of associations that I believe

human society, by observing the bee as a metaphor, can find the opportunity to identify

its own place in the ecosystem.

The anthropomorphization of the bee and the construction of humans as insects

are addressed in Mark Thompson's film Immersion (1977-78) and his performance Live-

in-H ive (1976) in which he inserted his head inside a hive. "Bees associate with the sun

and gather their food from the reproductive organs of plants: to enter into their habitat,

to put the brain of the artist beekeeper into contact with the heart of the swarm, is to

delve into the most secret mysteries of life" (Ramirez 89). "Thompson is not concerned

with a romanticized representation of the honeybee; instead, his performance focuses

on the encounter, almost a fusion as it were, of human and animal" (Stiles 582). My

intention is not to create a fusion as in Thompson's work but to establish communication









in order to help the bees through this crisis and for us to learn from the bees through

that dialogue.

Interview with a Bee

The video Interview with a Bee (3 minutes, 2009) is a collage of black and white

microscope photographs of bees cut out into bee puppets, which I animate to interview

them with a microphone wearing a beekeepers veil. Phone operators plug the lines into

the honeycomb as if it were a switchboard while other bees pick up the signals from a

pirate radio station within the hive. While this video discloses the absurdity of attempting

to communicate with bees on this level, it also points to the limitations of our sensory

apparatus at the task. Even if we cannot fully understand the language of bees to ask

them questions, we need to expand our outreach into their world and learn how to

communicate with them for our mutual benefit.

The platforms for my work extend beyond the walls of the gallery space and into

the realms of the public. My audience is multifaceted and my work thrives on these rich

and diverse social interactions. My dedication to researching the bees for the past two

years has allowed me to have hands-on, practical experience while meeting countless

beekeepers and scientists, attending Bee College and other workshops, moving hives,

assisting in the research at the Entomology Department, photographing bees and mites.

I have also become an active member of the Alachua Beekeeping Association and was

recently invited to serve on the board of directors. By expressing a genuine interest and

commitment to learning about honeybees and beekeeping, I became one of the first

members in the "Save Our Bees" program, where I was fortunate to be mentored by an

outstanding beekeeper with over 30 years of experience, who dedicates all of his time

assisting new beekeepers, educating the public, starting new clubs and saving









honeybees. I accompanied him to schools to give presentations using an observation

hive with live bees.

I am not interested in making art that is purely rhetorical, adhering to the "idea" of

community and nature; instead, my interest resides in creating art that engages actual

communities, institutions and nature itself. My "studio time" extends into many different

arenas, the location of my hives being one of them, while connecting me to an array of

communities, (made up of beekeepers, honeybee enthusiasts, organic gardeners,

researchers, artists, to name a few). Maintaining a number of hives on my own has

been intrinsic to my work and has been an amazing, challenging and humbling

endeavor. "A learner must be led always from familiar objects toward the unfamiliar,"

explained Pearle, "guided along, as it were, a chain of flowers into the mysteries of life"

(Wilson).





























Figure 2-1. Detail of bees, Observation Station (2010)


Figure 2-2. Reading Station, Bishop Study Center, Harn Museum (2010)





































Figure 2-3. Detail, Observation Station, Harn Museum (2010)


Figure 2-4. Detail, Diagram of honeybee waggle dance frame, (2010)






























Figure 2-5. Installation view, Observation Station, Harn


Figure 2-6. The Bees and me, Observation Station, Harn Museum (2010)





























"1C...-...... --.... ......-......... -.-r~-~- -- ~. -I"......-......I ~-


Figure 2-7. Detail frame, Diagram of human and honeybee


vision (2010)


Figure 2-8. Installation view, Observation Station, Harn Museum (2010)































Figure 2-9. Installation view, Observation Station, Harn Museum (2010)


Figure 2-10. Detail, Observation Station, Harn Museum (2010)
































Figure 2-11. Detail of bees, Observation Station (2010)


Figure 2-12. Installation view, Video projections, Harn Museum (2010)


c~ ..
7, 4 "~c 1.
t ~C S ~.1 -~ "* 1
'~ ~~n*
r ..
5 ~, ~ ~.~*
~C *S~~r*.~~n

C IFk IE:1F
'"" '-`- ';O





























Figure 2-13. Still from video, Interview with a Bee (2009)


Figure 2-14. Still from video, Interview with a Bee (2009)


















































Figure 2-16. New queen bee from my hive


Figure 2-15. Still from video, Interview with a Bee (2009)






























Figure 2-17. Bee College, St. Augustine


Figure 2-18. Established swarm removed from house and relocated






























Figure 2-19. Established swarm removed from house and relocated









CHAPTER 3
ON THE FUTURE COLLABORATIONS BETWEEN HUMANS AN D BEES

While scientists have been aware of honeybees' acute olfactory system, only

recently have they begun to develop ways to harness this astounding ability.

Honeybees are now assisting in early detection of fertility and certain diseases, such as

cancer, tuberculosis and diabetes. Susanna Soares' project Bees, created in

collaboration with scientists and researchers, consists of a "series of alternative

diagnostic tools," many of which are made from glass, using "bees to accurately

diagnose a vast variety of diseases at an early stage. The project aims to build on

current technological research, using design to translate the outcome into systems and

objects that people can understand and use in their daily lives" (Soares 35).

Requiring only a short training period, bees are also capable of locating

landmines, bombs, and various chemicals through the use of Pavlovian techniques.

Located in the antennae, the powerful sensory organs of the honeybee control its sense

of smell and touch, which are not separate (as in humans); but instead, they operate

and are experienced simultaneously. Studies suggest that bees possess "a plastic

sense of smell-that is for the bee, shapes have fragrance" (Preston 21). Endowed with

such astounding capabilities, honeybees have not only captured the attention of the

media, but also the attention of the military. A recent article in Bee Culture magazine

reported the military as the leading supporters in funding for honeybee research. The

N~ew York Times (June 28, 2010) announced honeybees are currently being employed

by seven airports in Germany, including the Dujsseldorf International Airport, acting as

"biodetectives" who monitor the quality of the air. A team of scientists and Lab

technicians are working with honeybees in the Stealthy Insect Sensor Project, which









they claim "was born out of a global threat from the growing use of improvised explosive

devices (IEDs), especially those that present a critical vulnerability for American military

troops (in Iraq and Afghanistan), and as an emerging danger for civilians worldwide"

(Mohn B6). Many advantages abound with the use of bees as detectives: they are less

expensive and easier to train than dogs and their small size makes them discrete and

unexpected.

































... r~Z~
t~~
L
I- r-


Figure 3-1. Honeybees training to detect explosives by feeding on sugar water mixed
with traces of tnt









LIST OF REFERENCES


Ellis, H. (2004). Sweetness & light: The M~ysterious History of the Honeybee. New York:
Harmony Books.

Halter, R. (2009). The Incomparable Honeybee & the Economics of Pollination. Victoria
[B.C.: RMB.

Hanson, Todd (2006). "Bringing in the 'Bee Team" Retrieved from
www.Ilanl. gov/newslindex. phplfuseaction/home. .. id/9475.

Hollingsworth, C. (2001). Poetics of the Hive: The Insect Metaphor in Literature. lowa
City: University of lowa Press.

Hurley, A., & Borges, J. L. (1998). Collected fictions. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Viking.

Mohn, Tanya. (2010, June 28). "At German Airports, Bees Help Monitor Air Quality."
New York Times. B6.

Noble, R. (2009). Utopias. London: Whitechapel Gallery.

Preston, Claire. (2006). Bee. London: Reaction Books LTD.

Quarles, William. (2008, Sept/Oct). "The IPM Practitioner, Monitoring the Field of Pest
Management." Vol XXX (9/10). Retrieved from http://birc.org

Ram irez, J. A. (2000). The Beehive Mlletaphor: From Gaudi to Le Corbusier. Essays in
Art and Culture. London: Reaktion.

Smith, Stephanie. (2005). Beyond Green-Toward a Sustainable Art. New York:
Independent Curators International.

Soares, Susanna. "MA Design Interactions RCA" (2009 Nov).
http://www. susanasoares.com/

Stiles, K., & Selz, P. H. (1996). Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A
sourcebook of artists' writings. California studies in the history of art, 35. Berkeley:
University of California Press.

Sutro, A., & Maeterlinck, M. (1901). The Life of the Bee. New York: Dodd, Mead.

Wilson, David. Museum of Jurassic Technology.(2008, August 28)."Contributions from
the Museum of Jurassic Technology: Collections and Exhibitions: Tell the
Bees... Belief, Knowledge, Hypersymbolic Cognition." Retrieved March 13, 2009.
http://www.mjt. org/









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Kelly Rogers' dedication to researching the bees for the past two years has

allowed her to have hands-on, practical experience, while meeting countless

beekeepers and scientists, attending Bee College, moving hives, assisting in the

research at the Entomology Department and photographing bees and mites. As an

active member of the Alachua Beekeeping Association, Rogers' serves on the board of

directors and is a part of the "Save Our Bees" program. Rogers' "studio practice"

extends into many arenas, the location of her hives being one of them. Maintaining a

number of hives on her own has been intrinsic to her work and has been an amazing,

challenging and humbling endeavor.




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