For approximately the last year I have been applying for some beam-time to take live bees for X-Ray Tomography at the Australian Synchrotron. Several times my proposal has been refused on scientific grounds but, with the amazing support of the Medical Imaging Beam specialist: Chris Hall, it was finally accepted and given a window of opportunity.
My aim was to capture image data of the insides of the bees as they moved around and ate.
The bees were kindly provided by Vanessa and Matt from Melbourne City rooftop Honey, who remained with us during the Synchrotron session. http://rooftop-honey.myshopify.com/
The bees were not harmed by the radioactive beam since insects, such as honeybees, are far more resilant than humans to environmental toxins and also their exposure time to the beam was short.
Chris is shown here organising the image capture process. On the left side of the left monitor you can see the synchrotron beam line itself and on the right the view of the bees in a box on a turntable waiting to be imaged.
There are already some very exciting video clips which I will be recontextualising into artworks asap.
I had no real idea how intricate the internal organs of honeybees are nor the detail of a proboscis absorbing food.
All future image data thanks to the Australian Synchrotron. For further information about the Australian Synchrotron: https://www.synchrotron.org.au/