Collaboration 3 – Buzzing Machine

Artist – Dr Paul Jeff (IPCRES)

Supporting Artists- Dr Laura Jenkins and Dan Butler
Scientist -Duncan Coston and scientists at Reading University (Professor Simon Potts and Dr Tom Breeze)

buzzing machine page 1

  Based on Paul Klee’s 1922 drawing ‘Twittering Machine’, which shows a hand-cranked contraption to which 4 birds appear to be tethered in a union of nature and the industrialised environment, this work comments on the uneasy balance between our natural pollinators such as bees, and the industrialised ‘climate’ that we have brought about. Whilst Klee’s machine seemed to focus on the looming catastrophe of man’s effects on the natural world, our ‘Buzzing Machine’ is primarily concerned with re-discovering the harmony that is necessary for all species to work together as one large machine. Collaborating with the Heart of Wales Railway Jeff envisages a machine similar to Klee’s incorporating model bees, that will be mounted on a ‘tea trolley’ and can be wheeled up and down the carriages allowing children perhaps to turn the handle.

  Jeff also proposes that this mobile installation contain a sound piece, the machinery of which can be concealed under the cloth covering the trolley. The sound piece to consist of multiple recordings by the choirs of the towns up and down the railway line and producing harmonies based on the buzz of the bumblebee. These recordings will be edited together to produce an interesting soundscape that will accompany the trolley on its journey. If a stop was long enough, for example, at the start and end of the line, then the trolley could be made to do a platform performance for travelers.

To compliment this mobile pollination journey along the garden train line there will be a second ‘cross-pollinating’ trolley as a bridge between the art and science for the project and to convey both the pollinator science and public information. Scientist Dr Duncan Coston from the University of Reading will use this trolley to educate the travelers on the differences between pollinated foods and other foods in order to provide a link to pollination food security through a split service of foods pollinated by bees and those not. Again platform performances on this second trolley will be possible.

buzzing machine page 3