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Lingering bees from the swarm at La Porte Peinte gallery, June 7, 2013
Special Thanks to: Michelle Anderson Binczak, Rod DeWeese, Celery Design, Derek Fukumori, Naomi Fukumori, Julie Holcomb, Gwenhäel Jacq, La Porte Peinte, Marco Vignuzzi.
Abeilles Bon Odori was conceived and designed to celebrate the waggle dance of the honeybee through the tradition of the Bon Odori festival from my Japanese heritage. There is a parallel between the dance language of the honeybee and how we communicate beyond the syntax of words. When the forager Bee discovers a source of nectar, she returns to the hive to share a taste of her find and performs a “waggle” or “circle dance” that communicates to her nest-mates she has found a good source of food. The dancing bee also emits a frequency that is integral to its communication mechanism. I’m inclined to see this dance as a performance of life’s sustenance. It is an example that there is an inherent truth in the language of the universe that nurtures our existence. When in alignment with that truth there is a natural flow to living.
The Bon Odori is a summer festival, originating in Japan, rooted in Buddhist tradition that honors the spirits of ancestors. The community gathers at their local temple to line-up and dance in a large circle around a center stage (yagura) where musicians perform folk-style music. This tradition was brought to new homelands where the generation of my grandparents, the “issei”, emigrated. Every year I look forward to the Obon festival in my hometown of Berkeley, California. Dancing in syncopation with a community of family and friends, of all ages, is a unique opportunity to move together in unison – being in the flow of continuity.
Where the honey bee's instinctive waggle/circle dance communicates a source of life sustenance, the Bon Odori is a circle dance that celebrates life – past, present and future with mind, body and spirit. nrf
On June 7, 2013 (9 months to the day of the opening) a swarm of bees appeared in the gallery, amid the Bon Odori installation. Following is the email from Michelle Anderson Binczak, Director of La Porte Peinte:
“OK, you will not believe this. I walked into the gallery (Noreen, your installation room) and heard the unmistakable sound of bees. My brain said, “oh, there's new bee art” in a kind of off-handed and irrational way. What?! And then I looked and saw the windows and walls of the room were full of real bees. Everywhere. We have a swarm. They are clustering all over the windows just outside that space and coming in through cracks in the wood. Noreen, you called the bees and the bees came! Your installation is buzzing with real bees. The sound is loud.The ex-mayor came by when I was checking out the swarm outside and said “this is proof of the power of art”. Bernard came by and started laughing. So now we have to bring Callou the beekeeper over to see what can be done. Maybe he can guide the bees to a new home. Otherwise, we will have to close the gallery and let the bees have it.” M.A.B.
Coincidence or Resonance...?