Over the last few months I’ve been working on a new sound piece for an exhibition called FIFTY BEES III. (9 March – 6 May, Brewhouse, Taunton. Times vary Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-4:30pm)
A bit of background………….
Lydia Needle sculpts British Bees in wool and stitch. She invites other artists to create responses to the ecology and hidden worlds of each individual bee.
For each of the FIFTY BEES exhibitions, fifty artists, makers, writers and musicians produce one new work in response to one of the bees, in order to give a fuller illustration of the diversity of our bee population, how endangered it is and how our pollinators are completely interlinked with our ecosystem.
There are 270 different bees in Britain. With this the third exhibition 150 of these will have been studied and celebrated.
The bee that loves blackberries
Composed by Helen Ottaway Voice Caroline Radcliffe
I particularly love the fact that Lydia made this bee while by the sea in Cornwall. Water is often a strong influence in my work and in this case it’s already woven into the making of Bee 108. I used the sound of bees as the starting point for my piece. Bees buzz by moving their flight muscles and wings as they fly. Mining bees also buzz while pollinating, vibrating the flowers to release the pollen. The pitch of the buzz varies according to the bee’s size. Buzz-pollinating has its own distinctive sound. When I was given my brief, at the end of August last year, the bees were still flying so I was able to do some field recording to capture the buzzing that forms the basis of my piece.
The exhibition is at The Brewhouse, Coal Orchard, Taunton, Somerset from Saturday 9th March until Monday 6th May. There are special FIFTY BEES events during the run including workshops, family days and ‘meet the artists’ sessions. See the Brewhouse website for more details. All are welcome to the launch on Saturday 9th March 5 – 7 pm.
With many thanks to Bridget and Rob for the use of their garden for field recording; Satsymph for technical advice; Alastair Goolden for technical advice and electronics; Caroline Radcliffe for her beautiful voice and Steve Ehrlicher for making the box and general support.