Listening at Scale: Bee Company open residency reflections

The listening experience is not only a geographical teleportation device but a scalar one. You become reduced in size too.

Matt

June 2022

June 2022 marked the third collective gathering with Bee Company. In the summer of 2021 Bee Company initially joined together in the beautiful surroundings of the Saari Residence. In that time we explored each of our individual creative practices, methodologies and conceptual frameworks. Our second gathering took place within Tullisaari Park in the winter of 2022. During this period we considered possibilities for how we might be able to create a public tour of the park which integrated our individual practices and methodologies in an event format. The third and most recent gathering was—for me at least—an opportunity to continue an ongoing interest in exploring our individual methodologies, but also to begin to share some of our practice and interests with the public audience of Tullisaari Park.

On PQ 2023

In March 2022 we were offered to be the official representation of Finland in the forthcoming Exhibition of Countries and Regions of PQ2023 (Prague Quadrennial) festival of performance design. Since this announcement was made our collective activity has started to become shaped by the needs to produce an output corresponding to PQ2023. It has become somewhat contra to our—up to this point—iterative collective process. Our direction has started to feel in tension between imagining this concrete output of a major international festival with pavilion style exhibitions against our characteristically tempered collective gatherings and their slow collection of tributaries; ideas which branch off and reconvene with different forms. A question for the midsummer open park residency was to engage with this tension between remaining in our fluid and exploratory stage of our collective work, whilst also understanding the need to do our work –and Finland!—justice within the context of an international artistic/performance design exhibition, with pavilions, competition, prizes, pride, and artistic statements all at stake.

For the remainder of this reflective passage on my personal experience of our open residency in Tullisaari Park, I will think about my personal experience of public engagement within the project. I am interested in thinking about the possible implications of this time spent together in the park and what it might mean (if anything) for our proposal and contribution towards a festival happening 2,000km and over a year away.

RARE

The PQ 2023 theme is the RARE: art springing out of ideas, materials, artistic approaches, and design practices that connect to the human level from within your environment, with its genius loci and unique situation. Prague Quadrennial call on performance designers, scenographers, and performance practitioners to use their RARE imagination and creativity to help us envision what the world and theatre could look like in the post-pandemic future.

This was the opening of the curatorial statement for PQ 2023 in its call for applicants. I have begun to think of Bee Company as an almost nomadic collective. It is a mesh-group which forms in different configurations around the locus of Tullisaari Park where Ina cares for and maintains four honeybee hives.

The ‘roaring 1920s’ are often considered as an era of great exuberance and excess across Europe and US. Recovery from the First World War and subsequent Spanish Flu pandemic was under way and The League of Nations promised security, collaboration and prosperity amongst the member nations including Finland, who had itself become an independent republic in 1917. This boom, captured magnificently by the scenes presented in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby suggests a ‘20s of huge celebrations, parties, debauchery and entertainment. During the height of the pandemic, commentators speculated as to whether a return to a world similar to the 1920s was due. Would people be keen to ‘get out there’ and ‘party hard’, entertain and be entertained? Would the post-pandemic performance and theatre worlds resonate to a demand for exuberance, with huge shows, lights, networks, sounds, big! Bigger! Biggest!? I am also conscious that the 1920s came to a brutal climax with the 1929 Wall Street Crash. It turned out that the excess was completely unaffordable and that people had been massively over speculating based on nothing (a typical condition that recurs time and time again under capitalism).

In 2022 the global economy is on the brink and across the West inflation is nearing all-time highs in many nations, strike action is becoming increasingly frequent and the cost of living is soaring. At the same time, profits for those at the top of shareholder stakes are also at ridiculous highs. How can this be sustained? If the markets won’t crash, do workers need to revolt and force their hand?

Listening as episteme; a knowledge gatherer, structurer, codifier, and ephemerata.

The conditions of Western economics and global markets under capitalism are also imbricated within the environmental impacts it continues to contribute towards. The summer of 2022 has seen unprecedented levels of climate catastrophes, global heatwaves, droughts and fires have broken out in areas often affected, but also new areas which have not suffered before. Simultaneously a war on European land has broken out which not only has impacted the lives and wellbeing of those within the borders whose lives are threatened on a daily basis, but also the ramifications the war is having upon food and fuel supplies across the world.

It all feels incredibly heavy. It all feels like a significant weight to load upon the shoulders of six creative practitioners and four honey bee hives. Should Bee Company be responding to this global crisis? At what level can we engage with it if we do?

Our mission has always been to reflect on the precarity of the creative practitioner within the conditions of western capitalism where funding for the arts is being constantly slashed, and at risk and positions remain always temporary, precarious and subject to the goodwill of wealthy benefactors. How do we support each other? How do we support ourselves? How might we explore our practices and these conditions together, and might the world of beekeeping/the lifeworld of honeybees act as inspiration for the way ahead?

Tullisaari Park

In the park, we met each day for a four days. We would share activities together, reconnect, discuss our feelings around the presentation of Bee Company to public audiences; one audience being that of our open event in the park at the end of the week and the other an international performance art and design crowd at PQ 2023.

Each day we wore beekeeper outfits that Ingvill had bought us. They helped us assume a formal presence, a formal sense of purpose and cohesiveness as a collective. It was also really fun to be in a costume and to see the confused looks of members of the public in the park when they saw a fleet of beekeepers marching. They would look around to see if there were bees somewhere, only to be left bemused that there almost always weren’t.

My work is primarily interested in listening. I am interested in listening as an individual artistic practice, listening as a technique, method, and methodology towards approaching and understanding the world. Listening as episteme; a knowledge gatherer, structurer, codifier, and ephemerata. Spending time with conscientious thinkers, speakers and listeners is a great pleasure. We don’t just listen with our ears; through haptic tactility and proprioception, we listen with our bodies too. And on our first day, we collectively joined and explored our bodies as resonators in a movement practice set by Suvi. We each responded to the fine adjustments sensed between each other’s bodies in what became a quiet dance. No music could be heard but the bodily rhythms and pulses felt, the breathing, steps, and rustling of costumes heard.

Listening with bees

On the final day we presented some ‘experiences’ to the public park. I was a bit isolated from the rest of the group who were located in different areas of the park tending to other activities. Dressed in beekeeper suit, I was based on a path which is one of the main entrances into the park. It is also where two of Bee Company’s hives are (down a hilly bank, in a dense field).

The two hives included one Farrar hive and one Top Bar hive. A Farrar hive is a vertically modular beehive with hung frames that bees use to build comb and store honey. They are a typical and familiar aesthetic ‘box’ design that are often what is thought of when one thinks of a beehive. They are often used in modern professional beekeeping. Within this hive lives a group of Italian bees, Apis mellifera ligustica who are a popular subspecies of honeybee.

A Top bar hive is one of the oldest and most commonly used hive style in the world and looks a bit like a wooden barbecue. In top bar hives bees build their honeycombs without waxfoundation. They are less convenient for the beekeeper to manage and take care in comparison to the modular style. Within the top bar hive, a new swarm of Carniolan honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica), a subspecies typically known in the central European region, and typical in Croatia, was collected from a woman’s garden by Ina only a few weeks prior. Typically after swarming and being brought into a new hive, honeybees are incredibly active as they bring in food and resource to build out their new home and consolidate their colony. This hive was no exception. It was incredibly active.

With the assistance and consent of our beekeeper Ina, I moved two DPA 4060 microphones in a spaced omnidirectional stereo configuration along with a Sennheiser MKH416 shotgun microphone. The microphones were aimed towards the entry door to the top bar hive at a distance that would not obstruct the entrance. We laid cabling up the bank to a listening station that we set up with two small stools and attached the cables to a Sound Devices Mix-Pre 6 Field Recorder and connected a pair of headphones.

We spent some time listening to different balances between the two microphone setups and found a blend between the two, with the DPAs having a 120Hz high pass filter set on them which allowed their stereo qualities to emerge whilst the mono Sennheiser microphone offered a closeness and clarity to overall sound. My first impressions were that the bees sounded incredibly busy, even at 6pm in the evening.

What followed for the next two hours was really quite incredible. In my beekeeper suit. I would say hello to passers-by, inform them that I was listening to the sounds from a new bee hive recently introduced to the park, and invited them to join me and take a listen. I would then tell them about Bee Company, that I had friends/colleagues wearing beekeeper overalls elsewhere in the park, and encouraged them to find them too. Collectively we aimed to engage with the public and invite them to consider bee ecologies within the park. Most of the people lived nearby, many commented on having seen the hives and wondered what was happening with them. Some of the folk who stopped and listened had also kept bees at various times in the past. One young man, perhaps in his late teens, who was running past and sweating heavily, surprisingly stopped and took a long five minutes catching his breath whilst listening with deep concentration to the hives. He asked many questions about the bees. I felt a bit of an imposter. Whilst I was in a beekeeper suit, listening to bees and inviting people to take part, I am not an apiarist and my specialist knowledge of bees feels quite limited. Over the last two years of engaging in Bee Company I have definitely developed some foundation knowledge in bees that I hope make it possible for me to give accurate information when asked on the basics though.

Another person stopped and began to ask quite directly as to whether I was selling the honey or not. After listening to the bees through the headphones for a few minutes, we then began to engage into a fascinating conversation about whether honeybees are affected by the introduction of 5G wireless electromagnetic signals. The person explained how they were a smartphone user but they were cautious about new wireless signal technologies and what they might be capable of doing to small insect species such as bees. There is a great deal of research produced in particular over the past decade about the effects of electromagnetic signals on honey bees which continue to be inconclusive.

Scale effects of amplified close listening

When I listen to close microphone amplified sounds of honey bee hives, I am often at first quite shocked and slightly disturbed. The sense of being deeply immersed inside a world or vortex of honeybees is quite worrying and arguably counter-evolutionary. However, as I spend time in the intensity, becoming accustomed to it, I begin to be quite entranced and fascinated by the activity that thousands of individuals within a single species, in a single hive, can come together with a single purpose. It is not a sound that matches a harmonic scale. It doesn’t flow with sustained rhythm and meter. But the sound, as chaotic as it is, represents a community finding its way collectively through messy interchanges but ultimately working towards one ultimate goal, flourishing survival of the colony. I think this is something that dawns on people as they listen to a bee hive too. Often they are initially shocked in their response due to the intensity. After all, from the bank you can see that there are hives at the bottom of the hill a few metres away, but you cannot hear bees in any great number. The headphone experience transports the listener down the hill and to the entrance of a huge city. The listening experience is not only a geographical teleportation device but a scalar one. You become reduced in size. Reconfigured at honeybee scale, you become immersed, shocked, terrified and equally enthralled and tranced by the industry of the colony. You can temporarily inhabit the world of those bees, eyes closed, perched upon a stool. Eyes open, you achieve embodied dissonance which allows you to be at once in the hive, part of the collective, and simultaneously a surveyor of the wider scene. It is a moment where you can become aware of being truly part of something bigger than yourself. This is a rare moment for the observer. An encounter that challenges and encourages an appreciation of scale, of energy, industry and collective endeavour that transcends the values of capitalism.

A moment to listen to an encounter that fosters a scalar and temporal shift is my personal rare vision for the performance of Bee Company.

In Awe of the Summer Market (a Saari journal)

Aino Aksenja 

Bee Company lived and worked in Saari Residence for two wonderful weeks in late July 2021. It’s impossible to summarise the residency in a short report, so I have decided to concentrate on two activities from our time at Saari, and how, to me, they’re inextricably linked.

The activities both took place on a Friday. On the 23rd, Marlon held a workshop in the afternoon. We were first guided through an intense meditation, and afterwards read and discussed an article by Summer Allen: How to experience more wow (Psyche, May 12, 2021). In short, the article is about the experience of awe in everyday life, and how it may be increased. Here is one of its key points:

Awe is a complex emotion that tends to arise when you’re in the presence of something vast that you don’t already understand. It heightens your sense of time, makes everyday concerns fall from view, shifts your perspective, and makes you feel more connected with the world and part of a greater whole.

We talked about what makes us feel awe, how common it is in our lives (consensus: more common than the average 2,5 times a week suggested by the article) and the possibilities for our work with the Company to inspire awe in ourselves and others. The discussion took place in warm yellow late-afternoon sunshine in front of Navetta, and afterwards the topic came up in other contexts and the conversation continued through our time in Saari.

The following Friday, the 30th, it was drizzling. We put on our raincoats and cycled to the local summer market in Pyhe, a short bike ride away. The weekly market was full of locally farmed and crafted products: everything from vegetables, seedlings and jams to woollen socks and birdhouses. A local choir made their first appearance since the pandemic started, and it seemed like the whole village and all the summer guests had gathered to listen, to drink coffee and to meet.

While wandering around the stalls and making purchases (spinach, kale, strawberry juice, two metres of liquorice, socks for Ina’s kids, a bee hotel from the birdhouse maker, wolf’s bane plants), Ina and I started talking about how awe-inspiring local markets are to us. I am deeply moved by the care and effort that goes into growing, making and selling all those things, as well as markets as meeting points and creators of community, both in the city (take Hakaniemi market for example) and in the countryside. Small everyday miracles take place in front of us all the time, if we just pause to look.

This experience of awe and the wish to share it was the starting point of our own Laajasalo Grassroots Market, that Ina and I started in spring 2021 as a part of Bee Company in our neighbourhood in Helsinki. We arranged four market days this summer: classic mead and doughnuts on May 1st, a seedling market on World Bee Day, a day off in the garden with the Company on Summer Solstice and a late summer’s flea market with new harvest honey from the prolific Tullisaari bees. The markets have been a great way to get to know more of our neighbours, and to share things we ourselves have grown and made. In short, they have been awesome. The next market will be a Christmas one, come visit us in Laajasalo in December!

Yours,

Bee Company

7.10.2021

BEE DANCE (a Saari journal)

Instructions and few moves for bee rave

Stand up from where you are sitting at and move to a better and more open place with bee walk. (beewalk.mp4)

If you’re not alone, show them the bee dance . If you are, show it to yourself. You can use a mirror if you want.(beedance.mp4)

Put on some danceable music. If you don’t know any of it. Here is a song we danced to on Friday 23rd of July in Mynämäki.

You are in the hive now.

It’s dark and hot. Hot and dark. Try saying that out loud as you walk around the space.

Say HOT when you throw your hands out forward and DARK when you throw them up in the air. Marlon shows you how. Do it with him and do it with the music. (hotndark.mp4)

It is very crowded and smelly. Everyone is minding everyones business. It is summer, sun is shining and you are about to go out and forage.

You are at the landing board showing your stinger to the sun. Whoa! What a big and poisonous stinger.

Do the honey slap! Bend your knees and treat yourself with a good series of slaps to the softest place of your bum. 1 2 3 4 5 6 at least. (honey slap.mp4)

You fly from flower to flower. Nectar is sweet and there is plenty of it now.

Winter in the hive (an adaptation of the dance we did in Saari residence as I remember it)

Winter in the hive requires more dancers, at least four. Select who will become the queen and put on more danceable music that should last at least 6 minutes. This for example.

Queen: “Do you want to do the winter?”

Cluster: “Yeah!”

Queen: “Come to the cluster now.”

Queen: “Let’s huddle!”

Dancing people form a tight group around the queen and start to huddle.

Queen: “It is so hot and sweaty here in the middle.”

huddling and dancing

Queen: “Hey guys, this is how it’s gonna be like for the next three months.”

huddling and dancing

Queen: “Can I touch you a bit? Can I use you a little? There is nothing to do but huddle here.”

Touching and huddling

Queen: “Hey guys, this is how it’s gonna be like for the next two months.”

Queen: “Round and round we go in circles.”

Dancers move places around the queen.

Queen: “Hey guys, this is how it’s gonna be like for the last one month.”

Queen: “I start laying eggs here in the middle. I lay eggs now. You being to feed me.”

Queen is kneeling in the middle of the cluster.

Queen: “It is spring. It is +7 out in the shadow. You go out to release yourself. It feels so good to go out at last. “

buzzing and huddling and dancing more loosely.

Queen: “We survived the winter. Many died but we survived.”

Royalty Free Music: ‘Cheeky Bum’ from Ina’s phone

These videos were recorded by Ina with her phone on 31st of Jyly 2021 close to a neolithic dwelling site. Bee dancer: Marlon Moilanen.

Risk, Consequences and Likelihood (a Saari journal)

Saari Residence 20.7.-1.8. 2021, video by Matt

Risk Assessment

I travelled from the UK to Finland during the pandemic. At the time of travel UK residents were required to have special exceptions in order to enter Finland. I negotiated, with the assistance of The Bee Company and Kone Foundation, to be offered special cultural representative status in order to work for two weeks at the Saari Manor.

Whilst in the UK, I was required to complete a risk assessment matrix that would identify the level of risk that a trip for a residency with The Bee Company would incur. It is these bureaucratic measures of risk that have left many nations and people across the world in desperate, difficult circumstances during the past year and a half. How should we quantify and qualify risk during a global pandemic and how do we quantify and qualify reward? Are risk and reward antonyms? Is it a roll of the dice, or it is something that can be managed, quantified and revised? Hyper managed? How do honeybees manage themselves? Is there a leader? A consensus? A biological imperative? A monarchy?

What does it mean for me to be considered a cultural representative for the UK and Finland at a time like this? How vital is my work at a time like this? What contribution to the cultural economy of both Finland and the UK would my presence at the Saari Manor for two weeks offer? Should I be taking this business-like approach to an artistic collective? Why are we called a company? Are we a performing arts company? A capitalist enterprise? A group of people in good company. A secret society of apoidea worshippers? Perhaps we are all of these things and none of these things. Would two weeks in the spacious nature and generous facilities of the Saari Manor help define this further? Why is this report open with so many questions? Why don’t I have any answers?

RATINGCONSEQUENCELIKELIHOOD
5MAJORDeath, Major damage to buildingsVERY LIKELYAlmost certain to happen, is happening now
4HIGHCause permanent disabilityHIGHIt has happened in the past year
3MEDIUMTemporary disability, eg fracturesMEDIUMIt has happened or is likely to happen within 2 years
2LOWSignificant injuries, bruising, sprainsLOWIs unlikely to happen in next 2 years
1MINORMinor injuries, cuts, scratchesIMPROBABLEVery unlikely to happen
Risk Management Codex
Risk Assessment Matrix

Uncalculating Risk

What about other types of risk? What about emotional risks? What about the value in taking a risk?

This is where I feel like the Saari residency with The Bee Company is excelling. It is an exercise in risk taking. We take risks together through exercises in trust, through the practice of going slow, through learning with and for each other, through trying new things, or opening ourselves up to one another and becoming vulnerable in order to explore a practice or a method or methodology that interests us. We take risks through sharing this experience together, and through not trying to force the issue.

This is the theory anyway. The Bee Company always aimed to only ever be somewhere else to where it started by the end of the residency. The Bee Company always stated that The Bee Company wasn’t about making artwork about bees. And yet, we ended at the same place we started, the Saari Manor. We discussed honeybees extensively, developed movements for a potential future performance, made recordings inside beehives and generally thought of ourselves in relation to bees, and other critters that our spirits aligned with.

What is there to come from exploring a group residency where there was no major agenda other than to get to know one another and one another’s practices, approaches and inspiration in their individual work? We drafted dream scenarios of what happens after the residency. Could we commit a mid-term future together exploring the lifeworlds discussed and investigated during the residency?

But what did you actually do there?

We arrived and agreed a shopping and food protocol. We made indicative recipes and a rota for evening meals. Our daytime meals would be individually managed, but there would always be a breakfast option if desired. Food was and is a critical force for The Bee Company. We agreed a schedule drafted by Ina for workshop activities. We each ran a workshop which introduced the other members to an element of each individual’s practice or ‘where they were at right now’. We navigated the Saari manor in an interdisciplinary and multi-sensory mode. Smell, Sight, Sound, Taste, Proprioception, Dreams, Fantasies, Mapping, Mapping Mapping and more Mapping. We formed an alliance of mapmakers, mapping the landscape, the schedule, the connections between one another and other critters, and our psyche, ecology, environment… an economy of noise. I hugged a granite boulder. Performed haptic cartography on Marlon’s body. Sensed the flow of honey through my body. Found a smell and tried to contain it in a box. Created a backstory for a spooky building in the woods. Melted my bones. Listened deeply. Howled at the moon. Explored dreams and imagined sanctuaries. Walked at night. Listened to an all-male choir. Danced at a honeybee rave. Uncovered new knowledge about a local archaeological site of importance. Waxed a honey bee hive box and weaved a skep. Cooked. Washed the dishes. Washed myself. Copious saunas. Kept returning to the bees. What of the bees?

My hope is that we can reconvene in spring 2022 where our lifeworlds will come together once more, this time in Tullisaari Park, in Helsinki. Home to The Bee Company’s honeybees and gardens. We will perhaps stage a performance that reflects on the risks taken, in the organising, and organisation of The Bee Company. Perhaps we will have honey. Perhaps there will be dance, music, vegetables, flowers and sound installations. Perhaps there will be film. The world still feels very open.

Something I have learned from attending residencies is that it is rare that any idea or work matures during a residency itself. It may be months later that the ideas coagulate and form into something exciting… the hallowed ground of the ‘output’. It might take even longer with The Bee Company. This is fine. This is how The Bee Company wants to be. Aspiring to perform, always performing, taking risks, flirting with the system, or finding ways to play a different hand altogether.

Amongst this group is realism. Nobody wants to work for free. Nobody wants to be taken advantage of. Nobody wants to quit The Bee Company. Within our ranks, a passionate beekeeper and skilled lighting designer. One of the most exciting Finnish dancers of their generation. A performer, choreographer and archaeologist of incredible depth, sensitivity and imagination. A set and costume designer with a deep knowledge of sustainable materials. A fine artist with gardening and flowering as a critical practice. A sound artist who wishes to listen and encourage others to do the same. An interdisciplinary company of makers, doers and thinkers.

The Bee Company.


Black pepper, tofu and broccoli stir fry recipe for 5 people:
  • 3tbsp black pepper crushed
  • 3tsbp white sugar
  • Ginger finely chopped
  • 3 garlic
  • 5 spring onion
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 6tbsp butter
  • Cornflower
  • 6tbsp soy sauce dark
  • 6tbsp soy sauce light
  • 350g tofu
  • 1 large broccoli
  • 1 red chilli
  • Rice (steamed)

Slice tofu into cubes. Dust with cornflower. Fry in vegetable oil. Remove from pain and drain. 5tbsp of butter, onion, garlic, ginger in large pan. Fry until soft. Add pepper and sugar. Add soy sauce. Add broccoli. Add chili and spring onion. Add tofu. Add 1tbsp butter. Serve with rice. 

Raportti / Report – Koneen Säätiö – Saaren Kartano – Mynämäki (a Saari journal)

Mehiläisten Seura / The Bee Company

Written by Suvi Tuominen, artist, curator, archaeologist, choreographer, dance per-former

31.7.2021

This report looks into the question of organising and organisation in The Bee Company. It is written with contradictory feelings, that at the moment unfold into two directions. On the one hand, the residency period has been wonderful, soft, energising and full of rest. On the other hand, the residency period has been consuming, energy sucking, laborious, full of internal conflicts and hesitations. 

I am artistically interested in the emergent relationships between various artistic methods, theoretical readings and structures of production. Therefore, for me these contradictions are somewhat essential in the analysis and reflections regarding artistic work. So, instead of looking away from the contradictions I want to write about them. After all collective art making is all about these relationships and negotiations happening in between contradicting emotions. We are in this way more human-like than bee-like. 

The Bee Company conceptualised their research trajectory for the Saari residence with the following words ‘’…our goal is to end up in a different place from which we started off…’’ 

A two week intensive artistic work together is inevitably doing so. There were few pre-conditioned strategies that were used as organisational tools for the company in order to achieve this research trajectory.

1. a time table draft. 

2. assigned times for each artist to host a workshop. 

3. assigned times for collective work. 

4. assigned times for leisure activities.

These modes of communicating organisational activities for The Bee Company failed drastically throughout the two weeks. Note, that the concept of failure is not used in a negative sense, but rather as something that is the reason for the unexpected to emerge. To fail with schedule drafts is quite common in porous artistic collectives, and also, I would claim, in process-oriented artistic activities. 

For The Bee Company the failure happened sometimes because of weather, sometimes because of unstoppable improvised lectures, sometimes because it was not clear what is leisure and what is work, sometimes because a taxi never arrived, sometimes because we simply forgot to ‘’speak about it’’ collectively, sometimes because we were ‘’speaking about it’’ too much collectively.  

It was clear for everyone in the Bee Company that due to our theoretical framings and references it would be somewhat contradictory even to follow a rigid schedule. The condition of failing in front of too restrictive organisational tools was set collectively. Or rather, in the collective consciousness. But to be quite honest, for me such decision requires more work, labor and space for exchange were the ‘’it’’ is continuously deconstructed. So to be honest, working collectively is a total post-structuralist mess. 

But wait let me hold my horses now!

Deconstructing in this case does not mean that in the collective we try to get rid of our collective history. But rather, the conditions where we fail either as a collective or as individuals need to be deconstructed in order to make that history of failing matter. This is to me politically transformative and therefore, The Bee Company seems to be making politically progressive art, looking straight into the questions of collectivisation. 

Emergent

Question: What does company mean for us? 

Question: What are the hidden power relations and hierarchies in the company?  

Question: How does bees fail in schedule drafts and what are the consequences of it? 

Question: What is the queens role in the Bee Company and in the Hive? 

Question: How much space do queens take in the Bee Company and in the hives? 

Question: How do we hold space for failure, vulnerabilities and accommodate different needs?

Question: How do we do this without talking?

What is especially interesting for me to work in this company is that we are not trying to solve these matters in one night. Speaking, talking and reflecting the modes in which all forms of organising, whether it be physical intimacies, discussions or collective decisions, happen is extremely important when making (for me) interesting art.

Visual artist and researcher Karolina Kucia has focused a lot on organisational roles and made also special notions around different modes of organising in the arts. Her work is a great inspiration for me and and I could sense how her insights would also assist The Bee Company forward with these organisational abstractions that do eventually also condition the very materiality of our future works. 

Next we need to discuss further Spirit animals in The Bee Company, Gossips, Private conversations within collective work situations, toxins and parasites. 

But that will be another longer blog post! 

Haluista, unista ja hunajan ekstaattisuudesta (a Saari journal)

Kirjoitan lyhyesti Mehiläisten seuran ensimmäisistä yhteisistä viikoista. Punertavan kuun ulvontaa, maisemallisen käännöksiä kosketuksessa, aamuyön vaellus 24/h S-markettiin, pyhätön kuvittelua ja avautumisen ihmeellisyys (”awe”) kanssataiteilijoiden ehdotuksissa. Olemme kartoittaneet toistemme kehon, psyykeen ja kielen maailmoja jakamalla itselle arkisia, toiselle ehkä uusia, taiteellisen työskentelyn harjoitteita ja kokeiluja. Tulevaisuus tuntuu vielä varsin avoimelta, mutta samalla taiteelliset halut ovat jo aloittaneet kierteisen liikkeensä. Näyttämön näkyjä välähtelee.

Kahden viikon aikana olen kuunnellut erityisesti hetkiä, joissa ruumis liikuttuu/lietsoontuu/kiihottuu/herää uneksimaan. Kysyn, miten yön aika ja unenkaltaisuus sulattavat sellaisia järjenvaloa palvovan mekanistisen tietämisen vaatimuksia, joiden seurauksista kuvittelen niin ihmisten kuin mehiläistenkin kärsivän. Samalla haluan antautua Mehiläisten seuran jäsenten ja mehiläisten yhdessäolon ristiriitaisuudelle ja selittämättömyydelle. Arvelen, että tämän kauneus ja rumuus ei voi ruumiillistua monoesteettisenä puhdistuksena tai käsitteellisenä nokkeluutena. Millainen tanssi tuntuu totuudelliselta mehiläisten seurassa? Saaren kartanossa olemme työstäneet muun muassa tämänkaltaisen eetoksen ja työskentelytavan mahdollisuuksia hankauksineen.

Muistutus itselle:

Mehiläisten seura ei tee taidetta mehiläisistä.

Samalla mehiläisten työtä ei voi ohittaa. Olen syönyt päivittäin Tullisaaren hunajaa, vuosikertaa 2020. Ina arveli, että vuosikerran 2020 mentholimainen ekstaattisuus johtuu mehiläisten keräämästä Lehmuksen kukinnosta.



Elokuussa 2021

Marlon Moilanen, tanssija