What would happen if a team of musicians, scientists, and honeybees teamed up to make music? It seems far out, but here at Liberty Science Center we know that the end product is as sweet as honey!
LSC's Bees to Bots exhibition is a fascinating insight into the high-tech world of bee science. But one of the most special things about the exhibition is the music playing throughout the hall, which was created by a band known as BE.
This symphony of bee and man is a collaboration of two experts from Nottingham, U.K. – artist Wolfgang Buttress and scientist Martin Bencsik – along with a diverse array of musicians. The music was created by recording the drone of 40,000 bees, while having talented musicians improvise over it in the key of C.
You can listen to a sample of the music here:
Both Wolfgang Buttress and Martin Bencsik are very familiar with the world of bee science.
Wolfgang Buttress is a sculptor whose work addresses environmental issues. One of his creations, "The Hive," is where the music of BE first debuted. "The Hive" is an an abstract representation of a honeycomb, complete with rotating metal and glass that suggests a swarm of bees.
Martin Bencsik is a scientist who specializes in bee communication. In his work, he uses a device called the "accelerometer," which records the vibrations of bees undergoing daily activities. Using this method, Bencsik detects bees' communications patterns, such as their "waggle dance," which is a vibration bees make indicating the location and distance of a food source.
In BE's music, you can hear these vibrations as picked up by the accelerometer.
So why make music with bees?
Both Bencsik and Buttress believe that we have a lot to learn from bee communication. That's because bees act as a barometer for the health of the planet, Buttress said in an interview with Absolutely London. If they're healthy, then the world is too. For this reason, it is important that we are in tune with their activity.
To learn more about how bees are crucial to science, and to hear more of the unique music of BE, visit our Bees to Bots exhibition on the third floor.