Bee Box Sounds is a gentle work requiring attentiveness and on the weekend of its installment as part of #bringtolightproject17, the public is too busy, too distracted, too disinterested to engage…except the children.
Like bees to a honeypot. Children running. Children escaping their parents’ attention for a short moment. Children scolded and told to hurry up or grabbed by the hand. Do not touch! Don’t get too close!
Stop. Lean in. What can you hear? Do you hear the bees caught in their handwoven cells? Do you hear the clack of the loom? Do not touch! The refrain.
About 90 people, mostly children, experienced the work over two days of the October long weekend, installed in a sweet little rotunda in the heart of Dubbo’s CBD – a site flanked by cafes and on the main shopping strip.
A collaboration with weaver, Kelly Leonard of Mudgee, Bee Box Sounds came together over five months. It was a harmonious collaboration, both of us seeing the potential, the opportunity to extend our practices and bring new relevance to the mediums we work in.
It did that, however, the primary audience was not the one we imagined it to be when the time came. It was perfect for children. Just the right height, just the right amount of imagination required. Just the right mix of mediums to cultivate curiosity – from what sounds they could hear, to where the sounds were coming from, how many speakers were there, how were the ribbons woven, what’s a loom and why we’d done the work – the questions were frequent and genuine and they almost all came from children.
Standing with the work and documenting the audience’s interaction with it for about nine hours over the two days, my relationship with the work changed. By the time most of my works come into the public spotlight, I’m sick of them – ready to move on to the next project. However, I became more intrigued with Bee Box Sounds, its alluring qualities throwing up ideas for future works and other opportunities to show the work to new audiences. There’s even a possibility the next reincarnation could include smell.
#bringtolightprojects is an annual event for regional artists putting contemporary art in ordinary places.