Mar 28 2012: Sepia-Toned Monochrome Photograph Showing A Swarm Of Bees (Date Unknown)

This undated image of bees swarming has hung around my desk for several years now, pretty much since I found it inside the pages of an old encyclopaedia sometime around 2006. What it shows is both commonplace, insofar as bees form swarms regularly: the sight of one isn’t an everyday occurance, but nor is it exactly scientifically remarkable. Yet it is simultaneously quite extraordinary. These swarms are composed of hundreds, perhaps thousands of individuals, each essential to the pollination processes which plants – not least those we need for food – have evolved to exploit. As reports of bee colony collapses, perhaps linked to nerve agents in commercial pesticides, have continued to circulate through the last decade or so, a simple reminder that we mess with insects like these at our own risk is probably not misplaced. I’m not sure if that’s exactly why this image has hung above my desk for so long but I suppose the constant mental prompt it offers, however subtle, has cast its own effect over the work I’ve been doing in its strangely compelling sculptural presence ever since it first arrived.

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