In this Creative Exchange, I worked with academics from the University of Exeter who facilitated the representation of honey bee data into a contemporary cello piece with an interpretive piece of music for both healthy hives, and those affected by pesticides and disease. The music was presented with a visual representation of the data, in the form of an animation.
Pollinators, including honey bees, face unprecedented pressures through accumulated stress in response to disease, combined with exposure to environmental toxins. It is these multi-factoral stresses that have contributed to the current high rates of colony mortality.
By representing the data from bee hives in a novel way and going beyond language, we hoped to tap into a fundamental way of experiencing a phenomenon to convey differences between healthy honey bees and those experiencing a number of stressors. The two tracks were created using two data sources each: the first from a study of honey bee behaviour when exposed to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, commonly used as pesticides, with a control, and the second from acoustic recordings from within healthy hives and those infected with Nosema. I produced a melodic line by improvising from music produced by converting the behavioural data into corresponding cello sounds.
To further explore the way honey bees and humans influence each other, this creative exchange also featured pieces from the artist Kurt Jackson, and his exhibition "Bees (and the odd wasp) in my bonnet". Honey-inspired drinks and canapés were provided.
Above: Video representing the bee data in animation and sound.
Right: Image showing the Max Patch than ran the background sounds and animation.
Juliet is the Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute and Chair in Applied Ecology. Her research looks at how insects and plants interact within the environment, and their role in the provision of ecosystem services. Her work includes the study of pollination and pest regulation in crops.
Scientific advisor and conceptual collaboration.
Lauren currently works in the Banded Mongoose research group at the University of Exeter (Penryn Campus).
She completed her PhD on social insects from University of Sussex and her research interests include the interactions between physics, sociality and group size.
Click here for link to the information poster produced for this exhibition.