All funds raised in this campaign will go towards the cost of materials and fabrication of 'Bee Dance', a 20 feet tall steel and copper art installation that will first be constructed for Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada in August 2019, and which will subsequently be available for public display at other locations in the US.
As a climbable and interactive art installation its primary purpose is to provide pleasure and stimulation and a sense of wonder to participants but it also serves to remind us of the crucial role that honeybees play in our own survival at a time when the bee population is under threat.
Work is already underway on the installation at The Generator in Reno, a superb facility that provides workspace for artists and creators, and it will continue over the next few months. Funds are also needed for engineering reports, transport, and lighting so all and any donations will be extremely welcome and deeply appreciated by the artist who has no sponsorship or grant and needs all the help she can get.
Elliptical hoops for the Bees' bodies, with one of the fixtures designed by Andy to hold them in position while welding in the foreground.
The Artist, Andrea Greenlees, and the Design Engineer, Josh Haywood, are both from London and the Lead Fabricator, Andy Tibbetts, is based in Reno where Bee Dance is being made. Andy is ably supported by steelworker Skiland Judd. Andrea's previous large scale artworks include the Cirque de Reflexions, 2015, Trasparenza, 2016, It's a Chicken and Egg Situation, 2017, and Bebot, 2018. Josh's previous installations include the Hayam Sun Temple, The Arbour, The Lost Temple, and The Lantern. Andy's previous works include the Clock Ship Tere, the Space Whale, and the Chicken and Bebot.
'Bee Dance' is a whimsical and inviting art installation in the form of two gigantic Dancing Bees, their legs entwined and their heads touching in a bee kiss. It celebrates one of the most fascinating examples of communication in the natural world.
When forager bees find nectar and pollen they return to the hive and perform an intricate dance routine to communicate the distance and direction of the food resources to the worker bees. This has come to be known as the ‘waggle’ dance, which belies its sophistication.
Honeybees also do a ‘tremble’ dance, which recruits receiver bees to collect nectar from returning foragers. The returning bees transfer nectar from their mouths into the mouths of another bee repeatedly – the bees’ kiss – and the process gradually extracts moisture from the nectar and produces honey.
Dance language is also used to communicate the location and quality of sites for nesting and reproduction. Bees even produce a kind of ‘Mexican Wave’ resembling a ripple across the comb when they perceive a threat by arching their bodies and flicking their wings.
20 feet high and 25 feet wide, and made of hand-formed tubular steel, welded and invisibly bolted together, Bee Dance is a strong climbable structure that will be securely anchored to the ground but appear to sit lightly on the surface just as a bee might alight on a flower. The Bees have huge protruding eyes, illuminated from within. The hooped bodies and myriad projections from thorax and head provide robust handholds and footholds for people to clamber over and cling to, just as pollen clings to a bee. As well as clambering over the outside participants can crawl inside the bodies like insects themselves and explore. They can climb up through the thorax and into the head and get a Bee's eye view of the partner Bee and of the surrounding landscape. The Bees are bronze in colour, but on their dancing feet they wear gleaming copper ballet shoes with copper ribbons. The Bees have become dancers. I believe the unexpected nature of the Bees' beautiful copper ballet shoes will inspire participants to dance and perform around them.
This installation reminds us that there is nothing more marvellous than what already occurs in nature. It will also serve to remind participants of the vital role played by honeybees in human survival, at a time when the world bee population is declining.
I invite you to be part of Bee Dance.