bees and me

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. I would create my own text based adventures – little worlds of my own that could be explored and visited by the people who hung out at the local Tandy shop. When I started university I became obsessed with virtual worlds and artificial life forms, virtual reality was a buzz word of the moment, but all I had to work with was infini-D, a video camera, hypercard and my imagination – I still remember some of the works I made during that time with fondness – may favourite from this period was a faux museum exhibition that explored the culture of a race of sentient beings discovered on the ROM of a Commodore_64, the whole thing being powered by a (not so faux) Tesla Coil. (That reminds me…to do list: look through that old pile of vhs documentation.)

My practice has trod many interesting paths since then – my research has weaved its way through, and in many ways weaved itself from, a diverse range of cultural and theoretical interests. Mellifera in particular and muve environments in general have begun to make it possible to realise many idea and bring together ideas and concepts that previously lay unresolved, as notes or drawings in my notebooks or marginal texts in my reading matter.

Though I may never become the apiarist of my childhood dreams, I think it is true to say that I may become the apiarist that my cyberspace obsessed self of the early nineties would have wanted me to become. A central unifying thread throughout my practice and theoretical inquiry of the last years, has been one of exploring and searching for a potential site of the self – or perhaps to dare wonder if this site exists at all. So in observing and studying the honey bee, and in asking what such a creature would be like if it were native to a muve environment, and creating a world for it to live in and a narrative construct surrounding it, I am also extending an ongoing investigation into the self as a potential construction of narrative.

My interests, in the case of Mellifera, are also nicely counterbalanced with those of Trish, and as we continue with our collaboration, I am certain that new, exciting and as yet unthought-of ideas and obsessions will develop for both of us. And who knows, I may yet get to be that astronaut … Though they may not realise it, I am sure the new colonies on mars will be in need of a virtual apiarist …

Andrew Burrell, July, 2008