Lillian Whitaker
Hive Journey (2020)
Installation: beehive, single-channel video and stereophonic audio
400mm x 900mm x 320mm

Hive Journey (2020) is an interdisciplinary installation which accumulates sculpture, sound and projected video. Set in a darkened gallery space, the work’s central focus is a single beehive enveloped by projected transpiring mapped visuals. A surround-sound system emits a field recorded soundscape, creating a sonically and visually mediative experience for audiences. This work pays homage to the mutualistic ecology of the bee species and its habitual environment (in this case, the Obi Obi Creek and surrounds). These concepts are emphasised by the sculptural hive which portrays the familiar home of a bee (a vessel for bee activity as the nectar collected from flora delineates a bee’s journey), and the visual use of projected mapped lines representing this journey in geographical terms. These visuals refer to a process of research-based mapping which amalgamates the flight paths of bees with the geographical terrain of the Obi Obi Creek, further exploring ideas of mutualism. The use of video, in this case, has offered a way of capturing, preserving and reimagining this kinetic phenomenon of travel. The mediums of film and photography here also hold contextual value; in a digital age, video and photography are vital scientific mediums offering accurate methods of observation. Ecological concepts are further unpacked by the media use of immersive sound which combines field recordings of creeks, birdsong and bee activity occurring in a shared location; all biological specimens which share a habitat and mutualistic relationship with bees. The installation choice to light the hive box from within symbolises the life force energy of the superorganism of a bee colony.

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