opening 5-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 | through Nov. 23 | Pabst Gallery, Atlantic Center for the Arts, 1414 Art Center Ave., New Smyrna Beach | 386-427-6975 | atlanticcenterforthearts.org | free
Artists and bees have plenty in common: buzzing from place to place, collecting the nectar of inspiration and sharing it with the next person they meet or place they alight, enriching the community as a whole simply by their own consumption and sharing, whether of pollen or ideas. The Atlantic Center for the Arts, a well-established hive of creative stimulation, hosts a new sound installation, opening Friday, that plays with these reflexive ideas of community interaction.
Modeled after the interior of a standard modern beehive – not the rounded dome you see in picture books, but a boxy structure stacked with frames that the bees fill with wax and honey – the installation consists of several 9-foot-tall acoustic partitions packed with hidden microphones and speakers, which pick up and reflect back audience and environmental sound, creating a “complex sonic landscape.” As viewers wander through the enormous structure, they signal and observe in equal measure. When local painter Bryce Hammond met composer Luke Aaron Clark at an Atlantic Center for the Arts residency three years ago, they discussed making a collaborative work based around apiculture, focusing on ways that honeybee community, environment and sound affected/reflected human society.
“At first, I pictured something very literal, such as large-format paintings of honeybees injected with beehive sounds and a piece by Luke,” Hammond says in an interview on the ACA website. Clark, however (pictured above), had a more conceptual vision of the piece. “If I was going to jump into such a commitment, I knew we needed to come up with a truly unique project with equal input from both artists. Bryce agreed, and there was no looking back,” says Clark.
After overcoming the loss of their first planned home for the project, an airplane hangar, Clark says, they moved back to the place where the collaboration truly started. The Atlantic Center’s Pabst Visitor Center and Gallery is now host to the sound structure, and it will be open to visitors until it departs at the end of November for rendezvous in Atlanta, New York, Berlin, London and Paris. During its tenure in New Smyrna Beach, several associated programs (including music and dance performances and a panel discussion with a beekeeper, apiary specialist and the artists) will happen in and around Progeny. Keep up to date with happenings at theprogenyproject.com.