I have asked interested participants to email me their name and address when they find a deceased bee they would like to contribute. I then send them a kit in the mail which consists of a small container (for the bee), a brief questionnaire, a self addressed stamped envelope, and a small handmade gift for their trouble. Included in the questionnaires is a simple, open ended question “How do you think it [the bee] died?” The resulting work is based upon my reaction to the bees themselves and the narratives that are returned to me on the questionnaires. Like any interaction with human beings the results have been unpredictable, often surprising me and surpassing my expectations.

Bee Taxidermy is both a monument to missing bees and an artist’s attempt to put humpty dumpty back together again. A viewer might be attracted to the bees by their diminutive scale and lean in for a closer look only to notice that the bees have not only been preserved but also meticulously and lovingly repaired. What the viewer finds instead is an unfaithful copy, a simulacrum; parts that were missing have been replaced with objects of a similar scale. Sections of legs have been carefully replaced with electrical resistors, jewelry parts and wire. Missing sections have been resurfaced with soft velvet and rabbit fur. Discarded and reused materials make up for what is missing. The result is what Jean Baudrillard might consider “a perversion of reality”. After completing this process the bees are representative of, yet no longer members of, the natural order of things and what is felt is not so much that something has been preserved but more that it has been irrevocably lost.

 

Macro Photography by: Christina Arsenault