Apis/Homo 1, Phase 1
The Marble House Project is an artist residency that invites makers to live and work on property in Dorset, VT. The 38 acres are divided into three main sections. The majestic, marble house sits next to the road surrounded by a formal, decorative garden. It is manicured and human-centric. The furthest portions of the property reveal wild, dense woods that are rich with flora, fauna. They are largely untouched by human interaction. The two sections are connected with the "sustainability" or "community" area, filled with vegetable gardens, chicken coops, bee hives and a barn for gatherings. The sustainability area is rich with human/nonhuman interaction. I spent my weeks on the property exploring ways to more deeply interact with nonhumans in the sustainability area.
Bees and humans share a long, complex history. Humans provide structures for protection near to nectar-rich food supplies, and bees provide honey, propolis, wax and pollination. Over-cultivation, pesticide use and changes in climate further complicate the bee/human relationship. While humans are deeply intertwined with the processes and products of bees, few humans directly share space or time with them. At Marble House I created a human/bee suit that aims to bring humans and bees together for close interaction.
The design is similar to that of a typical beekeeper suit, but functions differently. The suit is made up of three parts: a tyvek suit, a two-layered helmet and a set of pollinator gloves. The tyvek suit protects the human from stings. The helmet invites close, intimate meetings. The inner layer is wire mesh (to protect the face) and the outer layer is vinyl. There is a funnel-like opening in the front. Flowers line the inside of the helmet, inviting bees to come and go as they wish. The vinyl layer creates a small space for bees and humans to share sounds, smells, temperatures. While waiting for bees to arrive, humans can pollinate nearby flowers with special gloves that have elongated tips for reaching pollen.
This work has been supported in part by
Marble House project, a nonprofit organization.
Watch video documentation of bee sitting here -->