Blood Honey Snow (apis Mellifera)


The live performance and interactive installation melds studies of Human Ritual practices with natural orders of honey bee behavior. This examination juxtaposes similar behaviors between the two species to explore how repetitive rituals and instinctual processes are perceived. I specifically want to focus on rituals for purification. Blood, Honey and Snow are all perceived and used in purification religious practices. The communal mastication of hive building is reminiscent of taking communion. The live performance and interactive installation contains many sub-ecosystems that house explorations of themes like violence, sacrosanct, process and morbidity. The audience experiences these ecosystems through multi-sensory interactions like sound, smell, visuals and touch. These sub-narratives that unfold on personal levels reinforce examinations of natural behavior and unnatural ritual.

Blood Honey Snow also explores themes of sexuality, sacrosanct and morbidity through intertwining attributes of two separate species in collaboration with each other. The installation includes multiple aspects that work in tangent with each other and focuses on separate collaborative stretches of dependency between humans and honey bees. The video projection, on the back screen, acts as a striking visual narrative of the three key themes: sexuality, sacrosanct, and morbidity. The explicit sexuality of honey and its proximity to the mouth is compromised by the disturbing morbidity of the blood red highlighting these sensual areas, the idea of sexual violence is paralleled in both humans and the hierarchy found within reproductive circumstances of a hive. The performance incorporates sacred elements, such as blood, honey and snow, used in rituals around the world. These elements are usually seen in rituals pertaining to purification. In addition, through the interactions between performer and materials, visual elements and performer and audience – the piece further alludes to intimate spiritual acts such as communion. The table and altar include projection mapped video loops of hands interacting with red yarn and honey. The video serves as an example of process that is both very physical, beautiful and violent. Another attribute of Blood Honey Snow is the white altar, reminiscent of a hive structure, that houses a proximity sensor connected through Max/MSP to affect different audio samplings. As someone approaches this altar, their presence by default incorporates them into the installation, making their mark in the history of the installation timeline. The intensity of buzzing that develops as an individual draws near is frenzied and disturbing to a human who should instinctually feel the urge to draw back. In reality, the buzzing is the sound of a healthy hive that enables agriculture to thrive and reinforces the deep dependency humans and bees have on each other. Atop the podium is a collection of hexagonal dishes that house dead bees, honey, honey comb, and pollen. All of the elements are tied together with a red strand, symbolizing interdependency implied through the visceral tethering. An additional aspect of the installation is the performance with flour, honey and interactions with audience members. The artist wears a belt powered by Arduino and connected with Max/MSP/Jitter. The belt acts as both an instrument to create a compelling soundscape and also to create a level of connection and intimacy with members of the audience. By melding the artist’s persona with a worker bees persona, the two worlds are further meshed together creating an illustration of the collaborative nature. Blood Honey Snow explores themes of sexuality, sacrosanct and morbidity through intertwining attributes of two separate species in collaboration with each other.