Honeybee Raree Box
Medium: Red Cedar Box, steel frame & ipad
Exhibition: Light Play: Ideas, Optics, Atmosphere, The University of Queensland Art Museum, 15th August-15th November, 2015
Curator Samantha Littley’s didactic panel description:
‘Trish Adams modelled her Honeybee raree box on the old-style ‘raree box’, otherwise known as a ‘rarity box’ or ‘peep show’, popular in Europe from the fifteenth century, and known in other cultures. Wandering showmen would offer paying customers the chance to peer through a small aperture in a transportable box or cubicle at an array of objects, images or people. In Adams’s case, the viewer is given a glimpse into the secret life of bees. The footage was recorded at the Australian Synchrotron, a research facility in Melbourne where scientists use ‘accelerator technology to produce a powerful source of light … a million times brighter than the sun.’ Adams explains that ‘Synchrotron light is the electromagnetic radiation emitted when electrons, moving at velocities close to the speed of light, are forced to change direction under the action of a magnetic field.’ At the Synchrotron, she worked with researcher Chris Hall using cutting-edge Imaging and Medical Beamline (IBML) technology to capture vision of the internal organs of living honeybees – the insects are resistant to radiation and not harmed through their exposure.
As Adams describes, ‘the idea of viewing the internal organs of living honeybees occurred to me when examining various characteristics of the European honeybee as visiting artist at the Visual and Sensory Neuroscience Group, Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland … When ‘peering’ at the video, the viewer is immersed in an unusually intense … viewing experience, that echoes the probing character of the penetrating Synchrotron IBML light beam.’