Notgeld and other Stadt Imkerei Austausch paraphernalia have been included in the Animaladies exhibition, postcard project and symposium at Interlude Gallery, 11–22 July 2016 in Sydney, Australia, curated by Madeleine Boyd, Melissa Boyde and Yvette Watt.
According to the catalogue:
The term Animaladies was coined by Fiona Probyn-Rapsey with an intention to reframe stereotypical cultural connections between madness, species, race and gender. Social marginalisation of animal advocates, animal carers and animal studies scholars is resisted in the works shown in this exhibition. The artists in Animaladies reveal instead how the crazy love of the animal advocate for non-human species can engender forms of courageous wisdom and persistence in the face of impossibilities and improbabilities.
Our text, ‘Plan Bienen: Sharing (in) the more-than-human city’ has been published in the latest APRJA, an open-access research journal launched at Transmediale: Conversation Piece Berlin 2016. The publication is the outcome of a masterclass that Tessa participated in, organised by DARC (Digital Aesthetics Research Centre), Aarhus University, School of Communication and Culture in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University and the Liverpool Biennial.
The notion of ‘excess’ energy is central to Bataille’s thinking. He takes the superabundance of energy, beginning from the infinite outpouring of solar energy or the surpluses produced by life’s basic chemical reactions, as the norm for organisms. In other words, an organism in Bataille’s general economy, unlike the rational actors of classical economy (Capitalist and Marxist alike) who are motivated by scarcity, normally has an excess of energy available to it. This extra energy can be used productively for the organism’s growth or it can be lavishly expended. Bataille insists that an organism’s growth or expansion always runs up against limits and becomes impossible. The wasting of this energy is a ‘luxury’ characteristic of any society. ‘The accursed share’ refers to this excess, destined for waste.
A recording of the panel at Transmediale that Sumugan participated in is below:
Sumugan presented Plan Bienen at Neolife, the Inaugural (Rest of the World) Society for Literature, Science and the Arts Conference organised by SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia, 1–3 October. Our working paper ‘Disappearing Humans’, a corollary to ‘Disappearing Bees’, was delivered in a session chaired by Mike Bianco, another artist and researcher whose ‘Humyn-honeybee’ project we are eagerly anticipating.
In June we presented ‘Statements of Profits and Loss’ at Art Laboratory Berlin. The exhibition showcased three Notgeld designs, documenting exchanges of honey – for various things – that took place last year between Oliver Rudzick and Lucinda Dayhew, Bärbel Rothhaar and Valentina Karga, and Jana Schroeder and Biljana Pais. The Notgeld are produced in editions of three: one gifted to each participant in the exchange, and one for the bees. Theirs were mounted inside a frame that would usually hold wax comb, ready to drop into a hive, and loaned to us for the exhibition.
Also on display was… material relating to our research, including a selection of historic Notgeld, books, a lump of coal, artefacts documenting barter economies in Germany and other paraphernalia relating to beekeeping and share networks currently operating in Berlin.
Leaning against one wall was a bicycle we had procured from a local bicycle share network, bikesurf berlin. Fitted out with a portable cooker, pans and utensils, this assemblage marked the presence of die Stillewald Küche, a speculative mobile kitchen serving food from a future in which there are no more bees, ie. cooking only with ingredients not requiring pollination by bees. This was also a functional prop for an (as yet) unrealised performance work, ‘Wake in Flight’, a memorial ceremony for departed bees to be held in an overgrown cemetery.
On the final day of the exhibition we hosted ‘Rates of Exchange–A Discursive Sonntagsbrunch’, a brunch-conversation about reciprocity and relations in the multispecies city, during which participants made notes on a large paper map on the table, in exchange for an extravagant meal made using only ingredients that are pollinated by bees (coffee, berries, chestnut lemon curd tart, buckwheat tomato tart, summer berry tarts…). On one end of the map was ‘bee ecologies’, and on the other ‘economic systems’. Together we attempted to address such questions as: what promising new modes of exchange could offer a way out of current crises in these two areas? What are the limits of exchange? How can value be measured differently?
Guests included Heinz Risse, the beekeeper at Prinzessinnengarten, and the artist and beekeeper Bärbel Rothhaar. The meal began with a glass of tap water and a humble dish of oatcakes and mushrooms provided by die Stillwald Küche … as the conversation proceeded, pots of tea and coffee were introduced until we eventually removed the glass coverings to partake in the all the bee-assisted delights. The meal concluded with a smoothie cocktail of honey, fruits and milk, downed with a spontaneously coined salutation to the bees—Gesummmtheit!
Plan Bienen has arrived back in Berlin! We are here until the end of the month, enjoying some summertime in residence at ZK/U, in preparation for a presentation at Art Laboratory Berlin (Wedding), 26-28 June.
Plan Bienen: Statements of Profit and Loss will show documents and artefacts generated by the project, and opens open Friday evening 26 June, 6pm. It can be visited also on Saturday and Sunday from 2-6pm. On Sunday 28 June (12 – 2pm) there will be a brunch-seminar, ‘Rates of Exchange—A Discursive Sonntagsbrunch‘, a public conversation with invited guests about reciprocity and relations in the multispecies city. Brunch courtesy of the bees. Please RSVP to email@example.com
Last week we had the opportunity to present a paper at the Aesthetics After Finitude symposium in Sydney. Our performative lecture, ‘Disappearing Bees’, developed ideas that were percolating during our residency at ZK/U, and perhaps points towards future directions of the Plan Bienen project. You can read a text version in the upcoming un Magazine 9.1, due for publication in June 2015.
A big thank you to the AAF research collective, who for the last year or so have been “discussing, experimenting and theorising at the frontiers of aesthetic theory. Taking the critical tradition of aesthetics to be no longer adequate to the possibilities of knowledge and experience of the twenty-first century, we have begun to develop an experimental practico-aesthetics that is less oriented towards the success or impact of work that defers to the judgement of a (human) receiver, than towards an aesthetics that is productive of realities, experience, and new declensions of ‘art’. This alternative is generational, not analytical; interventionist rather than evaluative.”