Artwork > Forgetting Fields

Texting the Bees
Texting the Bees
Interactive artwork/LED sign, collaboration with Bryce Krynski
Custom software development by Lowell Smith and Stevan Clement, Electronics hardware fabrication by Lowell Smith, poly acrylic MDF enclosure, raspberry pi computer, fan, wireless keyboard, LEDs, HDMI display, electronic components

Telling the bees is an old tradition in some European countries in which honeybee keepers would tell the bees of tragic news or important events in their lives. It was thought that if people did not communicate this information to the bees, then the bees would leave, leaving their gardens and crops.

Our fate is tied to that of bees. There are many threats to bees including habitat loss, monoculture crops, neonicotinoids, climate change, and pathogens.

In this work, audiences are invited to text a message to the bees and consider what news or important events in their lives they want to share to keep the bees from leaving.

Brought by European settlers, honeybees are an introduced species to what is now known as Canada. To date, over 300 species of bees native to Alberta have been documented. Many are solitary bees like the protagonist in all roses sleep (inviolate light) and nest in the ground. Native bees are important for preserving native habitats and biodiversity. They are specialists, able to pollinate specific plants as they have evolved in what is now defined and known as Alberta for thousands of years. One way to help native bees is to learn about and plant native flowers.

What do you want to tell the bees? Text your message to the bees at (587) 602-4673 and it will be included in the next presentation of this piece.