The Bees of the Dead

wikiGong continues to explore use of environmentally-generated audio, and adds audio generated by (non-human) organisms. Using folk custom as a port of entry, our speculations on consciousness bungee back across the universe to aliens living on the planet we naively call ours. Are they symbionts, bound to us and our fate? Gods? Oracles? And how can we know? Only through an intermediary priesthood: the appropriately attired chorus joining us.

The custom of “telling the bees,” with special treatment prescribed for hives surviving their keepers, inspires our piece. Humans have lived with various species of honey bees for at least 15,000 years. At first, we were predators: comb full of honey and fat larvae was the richest foodstuff in the human diet, possibly kick-starting growth of that calorifically extravagant weapon, the human brain. Since the agricultural revolution, we are co-dependents; but we are not holding up our end of the bargain.

The colony superorganism is so alien, it’s a marvel we share one planet. A death squad with a million eyes. It smells fear. Dances maps. Has a body you can walk through. Sees polarized light. Naturally we approach it through skilled intermediaries, ambassadors, translators: the four members of the priesthood of beekeepers. This caste will gather the hopes, dreams, fears, and guilty secrets of attendees, for submission to the bees and ritual destruction. Ritual elements may include chanting and singing, recital of submissions, wind harp, and audio samples of the surrounding environment, infrastructure, and hives.

Return to Artists 2019 page catalogs the sounds of large public structures for creative purposes, including the creation of new virtual instruments.

Dave Ayer built his first virtual instruments at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, where he earned an MFA in Sculpture in 1987. He launched the web site in July 2009.

Jacob Dickinson’s photography and printmaking inform his contributions to and He is CTO of Eco Sphere Sciences, an environmental start-up; and an IT consultant.

Posted in Artists 2019.