mellifera consists of an on-line interactive environment in Second Life which is linked to a complimentary series of real-time exhibitions in gallery and museum spaces. Central to this ecologically sensitive artwork is the artists’ direct engagement with various aspects of bee behaviour at Queensland Brain Institute, where researchers are investigating cognition, navigation and communications in the honey bee. The artists’ poetic and scientific interactions with the bees has inspired the development of mellifera’s experimental series of human / computer interfaces, which provide modes of sensory delivery for both virtual and real-world participant interactivity. They are creating a space that allows the viewer to interact with artificial life created in virtual worlds through direct physical engagement with various interfaces – providing a platform for the investigation of posthuman technologies and modes of sensory delivery. The launch at gaffa introduces key artificial life organisms that are central to the developing virtual environment, providing a taste of the real-world interactive interfaces due to premiere in Brisbane in August 2009 at ‘the block’, QUT.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
mellifera : neoNascent is a rebirth of the mellifera environment on the OpenSim platform. Inspired by an invitation to show mellifera at this years Freeplay Festival in Melbourne we have completely reworked the environment and also created a new version of mellifera – echoes of travels in new territories (2010). You can visit us at Freeplay or online in ReactionGrid (Caerleon-Mnmemosyne region)
During the past week Nonnatus Korhonen and Neurone Schism have been meeting to close down the ‘terra-mellifera’ eco-system and clear the landscape. Part of this process has been a farewell to resident independent agent: Essential Beeswing – at least for the present anyway. For many months Essential has greeted visiting avatars, summoned the ‘mellifera’ and [...]
a short video documentation of the project we developed over ten days in residence at the RMIT Virtual Reality Center.
A look at stills from the early stages of the generative video to be included in ‘mellifera_extensions’ at the RMIT VR Centre gallery. Andrew and I are spending 10 days extensively workshopping extensions to earlier incarnations of ‘mellifera’. We have been invited to show this work as part of the Drawing Out Conference exhibition programme being [...]
‘mellifera_extensions’ will move on from the earlier exhibition last year at ‘the block’ and on-line. Please join us at RMIT Virtual Reality Centre gallery of you are in Melbourne or inworld if not. There will also be a one off screening at Federation Square on Thursday 8 April, following the show opening and forum earlier [...]
mellifera now has its own youTube channel. For video documentation of mellifera have a look at http://www.youtube.com/user/melliferaProject
The TAXA opening was well attended and the VR centre proved to be an exciting venue to show in. The many mobile plasma screens available facilitated the structure of the installation in both of the gallery rooms. Here a documentary video of ‘machina carnis’ is playing in the first room. HOST was also projected large-scale in [...]
It was an evening of participant experimentation both at the gallery and inworld (Photos by Keith Novak):
The show was opened by Andrew Donovan, Director: New Media Arts Board, Australia Council for the Arts which funded the project and Australian Chief Scientist: Penny Sackett along with Queensland Chief Scientist: Peter Andrews.
the terra.mellifera eco-system is no longer stable due to the introduction of a virtual bacteria that has been introduced through the presence of avatars in the space.
essential is doing ous best to keep the balance, but, it is also possible for visiting avatars to help move the energy collected by the mellifera, and in turn help heal those that have become infected.
in fact it is now evident that the mellifera population is becoming more and more reliant on visiting avatars working along side of essential to keep the bacteria in check.
please join essential in-world to help where you can
I will be presenting my arts/research: “Pluripotent Stem Cells: an artist grows her own…” at the “Eye of the Storm” 2 day Symposium on scientific controversy at Tate Britain. I will be speaking about my adult stem cell project: ‘machina carnis’ during which I cultured adult stem cells from my blood and carried out an experiment [...]
Essential is non-gendered and we use the Old English term of “ou” rather than “he” or “she” in this context. Mute tho Essential may be, ou is far from dumb – moving through a pattern of activities in ‘mellifera’ or reflecting on some other-worldly concern known ownly to ouself; what is it about this being that [...]
Such wonderment awaits the intrepid voyager both within and without the metaverse! For neurone schism gaffa gallery was the scene of much exploration and excitement in the company of her trusty collaborator nonnatus and other revellers on the night of 16th March. Supported by the worthy investigators from the Australia Council for the Arts new life-forms [...]
some shots from the real world launch at gaffa gallery. The virtual bees or the mellifera were release by the push of an antique button, by Australia Council chairman James Strong AO. It was a busy night and the anticipation of the maiden flight could be felt in the air, followed by applause as a [...]
At the Biotech Art Revisited show in Adelaide next week I will be exhibiting my DVD installation: “Changing Fates_matrilineal”. This is a work that explores both the biological and material aspects of embodiment. I have referenced writing and artefacts left behind by my grandmother: Mollie, juxtaposed with digital videomicrograph image data of adult stem cells taken [...]
thanks for dropping by: a list of our recent visitors
i have been busy installing and testing an opensim install (as both a research project in its own right, and a backup plan for terra.mellifera if second life goes down during a gallery install) and working on programming for the arduino based second life autonomous agent and client, based on libOpenMetaverse . At the same [...]
The video component of “Host”, Trish’s first project developed as artist in residence at the QBI bee facility will be screened in the Screening Territories film and video section of transmediale.09 – Berlin. http://www.transmediale.de/en/node/1358
terra.mellifera has undergone a major terraform and most of the flora has found a balance within the system. the flora is vital to the existence of the mellifera themselves as it will provide them with several key items that they rely upon to continue their own processes. the new entry slurl is: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Caerleon%20Isle/242/239/27
Yesterday Julie had decided to add another storey to our bees’ accommodation and so when i arrived today to check the Piezo i was amazed to find this big loop of bees around the entry to the hive. At first it looked as if the bees were climbing all over each other to get back [...]
Thanks to the generosity of the ‘caerleon isle’ artist community our project now has a new home in the metaverse. Here is the SLURL :http://slurl.com/secondlife/Caerleon%20Isle/154/153/22 Caerleon isle has been my home in SL for some time now, and has developed and evolved (along with its sister sim – new caerleon) into a vibrant place of [...]
Before meeting Julie at the ‘bee house’ i took another sound recording from the Piezo. It’s not turning out as we had hoped but more of that in a minute… Julie once more helped me by opening up the hive & lifting out the frame with the Piezo inserted in it. As you can see [...]
nonnatus korhonen and nuerone schism, andrew and trish’s avatars have been meeting regularily in second life, putting some time into developing a self sustaining eco-system for the mellifera to exist within. images below show the self regulating, self replicating mellis florae, and a developing Arcadian environment that will become central to the project.
Today I met Julie and we opened up the hive. After the usual preliminary smoking proceedure she lifted out the frame where the piezo frame was embedded in the wax. Things have certainly changed since the last time she looked & told me that the bees were avoiding the piezo area!! Lots of honey making [...]
On Monday 13th October, with the help of researcher Julie Lim, the frame with the Piezo Mic embedded in the wax was inserted into a hive. After smoking the hive to calm the bees Julie took out the first frame full of honey Then we put the new Piezo frame at the front. Finally Julie [...]
another trip to the bee house, this time we inserted a mic right into the hive and captured some fantastic audio of local and general bee activity. we worked with researcher Carla Evangelista in installing out mics and in discussion our observations and poetic readings of the bees activities. (pictured below: in the first image, [...]
with the intention of observation and audio recording we headed for the bee house. after some trouble finding a piezo transducer (whatever happened to musical christmas cards!) we set off with our trusty (and well soldered) contact mic and H2 zoom.. intrigued by the concept of communication across the hive through vibration (stamping little feet [...]
The Bee House at the Queensland Brain Institute opened recently. For the Mellifera project, this represents the site of exchange between artist, scientist and bee. (this entry includes links to two articles on the opening and the importance of the work being done at the bee house)
Michele Helmrich, catalogue essay from Trish Adam’s DVD installation “HOST”, 6 March-6 April, The Univeristy of Queensland Art Museum, http://artmuseum.uq.edu.au In Trish Adams’s moving image work HOST, bees demand our attention. They are magnified many times over and are screened large and in slow motion. Bees fly toward the undulating surface of a human hand; [...]
When I was a little boy (oh yes, I love stories that begin this way too) there were many things I wanted to be when I grew up. Two of these were astronaut and apiarist (I can remember the second quite well because my mother thought I said atheist…but that’s another story.) When I was a boy that was a bit older than I was when I was little, I would sit and program in basic on my trs-80…
A short introductory text by Andrew
The shift from culturing my own stem cells in the laboratory to observing bees at the ‘bee-house’, Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) might, initially, seem like quite an arbitrary one. Certainly my knowledge about bee behaviours when I began my residency with the Visual and Sensory Neuroscience group at QBI was pretty average – social communities; queens, drones & workers; swarming and painful stings probably about summed it up! …
A short introductory text by Trish
mellifera has a new home in second life. you can teleport directly from here to see whats going on… early experiments at the moment… http://slurl.com/secondlife/Pyewacket/207/14/23 the dome is built using Shine Renoir’s Geodesic Dome Building scripts found here.
A short list of texts exploring some diverse aspects of bees – the cognitive, sensory and communicative habits of which will be playing a central role in our developing project. (not including texts and publications from the Visual & Sensory Neuroscience Group, which will form a separate list.)
Sydney-based visual artist and writer Andrew Burrell, and Brisbane-based arts/science practitioner and researcher Trish Adams will collaborate to develop an inter-disciplinary artwork exploring cognitive processes and body movement and its relationship to virtual environments.