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HIVE index

Date

2024

Dimensions

1080 x 1920px

Material

Sculpture & film on vertical screen

Collaboration with

Apian

Description

HIVE Index is a work that takes the form of a series of short films and a sculpture, criticizing the use of digital technologies in beekeeping. It is part of a long-term research project led by Apian on the impact of these technologies on the relationships between beekeepers and bees. This third part of the research is the result of a collaboration with the artist collective Fragmentin.

Bees have always been exploited for their production of honey, wax, and other hive products, but today the agrifood industries are particularly interested in their role as pollinators. Although honeybees are not the only pollinators present in nature, their ability to pollinate large monocultures has made them crucial for conventional agriculture. Without the help of these precious pollinators, the agrifood industry would have to spend billions more on their plantations. However, bees are not the exemplary workers one might think. Thus, with the help of silicon and electronic chips, the agrifood industry attempts to optimize hives and their inhabitants, but at what cost?

Fragmentin and Apian have designed a sculptural and performative device that highlights the brutality and absurdity of using these technologies in our current capitalist system. The sculpture, reminiscent of a mechanical hand, seems to close in on the hive positioned at its center. Certain details of the device refer to capturing elements such as a scale - one of the most used sensors in digital beekeeping - or even a measuring grid. At the top of each phalanx is an LED screen, reminiscent of stock market screens. The selection of materials contrasts with the natural context in which the performances were filmed, highlighting the absurdity of the current context while proposing a new hybrid aesthetic between nature and technology, suggesting another possible use for these technologies.

The short films take place in different beekeeping contexts that the artists want to draw attention to. Through a timed choreography, the screens of the sculpture speculate and broadcast the hypothetical stock values of several types of hives, such as a log hive, a modern hive, and many others, according to criteria that escape the viewers, referencing the lack of transparency in the agrifood industry. Nevertheless, each screen displays acronyms such as: BIO (biodiversity), BEE (bees), HON (honey), POL (pollination), etc., giving clues about what the machine bases its price on. Is it the weight? The number of bees? Or the pollination value?

The first two films of HIVE Index were shot in Switzerland and highlight a modern hive whose honey is not exploited and a log hive, whose presence is prohibited in Switzerland for sanitary reasons.

The name HIVE Index refers to a stock market index tracking the performance of a set of stocks, often grouped to represent and assess the health of a particular sector. In our case: beekeeping symbolized by different types of hives.

The entire set of films, when viewed together, highlights the growing competition these insects face due to the destruction of their habitats, echoing the rivalry that humans engage in within the capitalist system.

HIVE index 01

HIVE index 02

Exhibition at CAIRN, Digne les bains, France

Contact

Fragmentin
Rue de Lausanne 64
1020 Renens, CH


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Thanks

Thanks

Fondation Vaudoise pour la Culture
Swiss Cultural Fund UK
Pro Helvetia
Art Foundation Pax
HeK
Canton de Vaud
Ville de Lausanne
Ville de Renens
Migros pourcent culturel
Arts at CERN
Hospitalité artistique de Saint-François
Swiss Alpine Club SAC
MUDAC

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