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Bee Arts: Prototypes from the Hive

April 12, 2016IASCollaboratives, Events0

Bee Arts: Prototypes from the Hive

Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at 6:30pm
Concourse Gallery, Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Free and open to the public

Gallery talk with Christine Baeumler, Shawn McConneloug, Mary Ludington, Robert Rosen, and Peng Wu.

A collaboration between the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), the University of Minnesota Bee Squad, and the Gymnasium, Bee Arts is a group committed to engaging with and supporting artists working with themes of pollinators and the environment. In 2015 Bee Arts began enacting a series of events and opportunities for artists and scientists interested in “cross-pollinating” knowledge and ideas about bees.

Last October, a two-day long Innovation Workshop hosted by The Gymnasium brought together a diverse group of people to innovate around the topic of “Hive.” The 25 participants represented fields of poetry, theatre, dance, musical and sound composition, digital technologies, and visual arts (including installation-based, conceptual and public art), as well as beekeeping, entomology, botany, physics, chemistry, and archaeology. They collaborated in a series of workshops and activities devised and facilitated by The Gymnasium, a group of interdisciplinary artists who work to connect artists with creative thinkers outside of the arts. The Gymnasium’s creative facilitation process, called “GymThinking,” combines physical play, exercises in collaboration, and poetic prompts to spark artistic innovations. By fostering communication and creativity between participants and mixing diverse perspectives and knowledge bases, the Hive innovation workshop provided a strong platform for artists and scientists to connect, collaborate, and generate ideas.

Bee Arts: Prototypes from the Hive documents the weekend’s innovative processes and showcases three resulting prototypes that emerged from the collaborations. The first prototype brings together a structure, performance, and sound, which create an immersive space for learning and thinking. One can stand inside the semi-closed structure to experience a moment of a bee larvae. This freestanding structure will be used as part of a public art piece that can be transported to different locations and accompanied by a live chanting event (approximately 20-30 minutes long). The second prototype is an installation of large collage panels that have been cut up and embedded into sheets of handmade paper. These individual, honeycomb-like elements can be reconfigured into various sculptural formats and reused. The final prototype is a mock-up of a digital game, Just Bee, which duplicates the reality of bee life, both within the hive and on the nectar range. Through the gaming experience, users “act” as bees through physical monitoring and action while learning of bees as they exist in the wild, cultivated and in-between spaces of the world. The game provides opportunity for users to cultivate their “Beeness” while learning about this crucial player in our ecosystem.

The exhibition Bee Arts: Prototypes from the Hive runs from Friday, March 25, through Sunday, April 17.

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