Dance of the Bees, by Selina Springett and Alessandro Berini

DSCF6207Bees are widely considered as the most important and significant contributor to pollination, playing an essential role in the prosperity of the world’s ecosystems and indeed to life itself. Our proposed work centres around the act of close monitoring of a working native beehive or number of beehives (dependant on availability/budget) which will be installed on site. Specifically this involves custom built apiaries housing Tetrogonula carbonaria, an Australian stingless bee native to the Sydney region. These bees are regularly kept in backyards as aids to pollination. The monitoring, proposed to install microphones, small cameras and sensors to monitor the bees activity and the health status of the hive. The data will be output in real time on a space in the Eden Gardens complex. Here we will set up an art installation seeking to create a powerfully immersive experience for the visitor which seeks to represent life of the hive though sound, projection and sculpturally crafted cells.

It is estimated that bees are responsible for the pollination of over 90% of global commercial pollination services, and approximately 35% of the world’s food crops. Less commonly known is that Australia itself is home to more than 1600 varieties of bees. Australian native bees, are particularly efficient pollinators, increasing, in some cases, crop production over 100%. While not prodigious producers of honey, they are responsible for pollinating the flowers that European bees can’t fit inside, such as the macadamia tree. In addition, being stingless they are more suitable to cohabitation with humans in urban areas. Currently bees worldwide are facing many disturbing problems. The use of nano insecticides and the parasitic varoa mite are leading to colony collapse. In light of these pressing issues we think that the placement of native stingless beehives at Eden Garden would raise awareness about this topic and foster interest in supporting these creatures in urban environments. As a bonus their presence will aid in the pollination of the display plants present at the centre.

Selina Springett and Alessandro Berini are emerging new media artists which have been collaborating for the last three years, primarily on outdoor sound art installations, achieving a high level of success in winning awards and commissions. Some of these include: first prize in the outdoor sculpture competition ROGAP in Rockdale in 2016 as well as the Cooks River Environmental Award in the same competition in 2015; First prize for the Australian Wildflower Garden Sculpture walk in 2015; and both Artist Peer Award and Staff Choice Award at Sculpture at Scenic World 2016. In addition we were awarded a Highly Commended at Hidden 2016 and are finalists in Hidden 2017. We have also received commissions three years in a row in Art on the Greenway for Leichhardt Council (now Inner West council) and have worked closely with Bankstown Arts Centre, independent curator Cassandra Hard Lawrie, and the DLUX media arts team. Our work Cacophony of the Fireflies was commissioned for Eden Unearthed 2016. Individually, Selina is currently undertaking a creative practice PhD at Macquarie University exploring community, history and the environmental ecology of the Cooks River in Sydney Through this working with the Cooks River Alliance, many councils, community groups and Sydney Water. Alessandro also works in graphic design and is professional art installer, working in gallery, private and commercial settings. We are looking to further establish ourselves both independently and collaboratively through continued exposure to diverse audiences, as well as in the art world. Our work focuses primarily on social and ecological concerns with a strong drive to creatively engage people to consider these themes. Many of our works include re-purposed or sustainable materials, deal with themes of sustainability or employ sustainable energy sources.

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