Dr. Trish Adams

Artist & Arts Researcher


This artwork explores the endangered status of the European honeybee due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and the toxic stresses faced by urban populations. The video images of desperate honeybee responses viewed against the backdrop of the rushing mass of the urban population, scurrying hither and thither; create a scenario where both humans and honeybees exhibit mindless – possibly doomed – behaviours. 

In bringing together these two normally disparate worlds of honeybee and city dweller DISORDERED SWARMING highlights unforeseen moments of exchange and interspecies proximity, combined with socio-cultural and ecological issues. 

Participants download the movie: a space to cross on to their ipad or iphone via QR code access. As they watch + listen to the movie, set against the urban backdrop, participants consider the layered relationship between humans and honeybees as they face closely linked issues of endagerment.

A space to cross includes documentary footage of aggressive honeybee behaviours collected during Trish’s residency with the Visual and Sensory Neuroscience group, Queensland Brain Institute. Contrary to their normally regulated and purposeful community behaviours, in this footage the aggressive honeybees exhibit apparently hectic desperation.

The video thus evokes a sense of foreboding, unease and entrapment that reaches beyond its original context to become a metaphor for both socio-cultural issues related to toxic urban stresses and the CCD endangered status of the honeybee itself.

The designated artwork website contains a project ‘app’ link and participant ‘comments’ section. Participants can post their responses to their varied viewing experiences on this designated DISORDERED SWARMING website portal. As their input is collected, an on-line community of participants will gradually build up – mirroring a swarming community of honeybees

>> View the mobile optimised version here



Original cinematography: Dr. Nikolai Leibsch, Visual & Sensory Neuroscience Group, Queensland Brain Institute, U.Q.

Soundtrack: Roundhouse Creative

The show @ Plug In ICA, http://www.toxicitywinnipeg.com/,

6 Dec. 2013- 8 Feb. 2014.

Curated: Melentie Pandilovski

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