Ren Ri is an artist who works with bees to make his contained beehive sculptures. He builds the plastic containers and places the wood dowels inside them to subtly guide the shape of the hive, and also rotates the sculpture every seven days to affect its form. The use of bees is especially relevant with the current affairs of suffering bee populations around the world, which could have a drastic and lasting effect on farming, but also the natural world in general.
Ri employs many strategies to work with bees. He performs with the bees, allowing them to sting his face, and has created a series of maps made of bees wax. According to Hi-Fructose, his aim in using the bees is to remove his subjectivity from the work. Although it certainly does remove a large degree of control, this is slightly problematic as he still intervenes by creating the object within which the bees form their hives, and further affects their process by rotating it. Complete objectivity seems pretty much unattainable in this scenario, as well as a false aspiration for any creative pursuit. Although there are obviously varying degrees of subjectivity, any intervention implies the influence of the author, and without the intervention Ri would be a beekeeper, not an artist. It’s interesting to experiment with degrees of control, but this is not an objective piece.
To me, the most interesting part of this project is the collaboration with the bees, as the final products are aesthetically appealing and call indirect attention to an issue of pertinence in the world today. (Via Hi-Fructose)