Reverie was presented as part of the exhibition No Vertical Song at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Fitzroy, including a hive of bee-related events at St Mark's church, as part of the ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2017 festival.



The exhibition

Reverie,  Anne Noble, 2016
Video 8.0 min 46 sec.
Bee recordings : Anne Noble and Jean-Pierre Martin
Voice Improvisation : Hayden Chisholm

Reverie is a long moving-still image of bees coming and going from the hive, late in the afternoon towards the end of their working day. The recordings of bee sounds were made by Noble in her own hives in New Zealand and during a residency in France at the Abbaye de Noirlac in 2015.  Jazz musician Hayden Chisholm joined Noble during the residency and, together with a sound engineer, they layered the bee voices to create a chorus referencing Gregorian plainsong. Chisholm then improvised, singing along with the bees a verse from the Georgics, the great Roman poet Virgil’s hymn of praise to nature and human labour Georgic IV is about beekeeping and tells an affectionate story of bees describing them as ‘little Romans’ (ruled mistakenly by a king bee) and presenting them as an exemplar for the ideal citizen and the ideal human society.

Of air-born honey, 
gift of heaven, 
I now take up the tale  ….

Virgil, Georgic IV  verse 1. 29BC

Internationally renowned New Zealand artist, Anne Noble, has developed a number of projects in recent years concerned with bees, global species loss and the revitalization of human relationships to complex living systems.

Her work with bees draws on her experience as a beekeeper.  Noble sees the bees as a species indicator – both as a living system under stress, a reminder of our part in the global environmental crises we face, and also a warning. As the artist notes…’maybe what is happening to the bees we are also doing to ourselves’.

No Vertical Song comprises a series of portraits of dead bees, installed as if populating an imaginary museum of the future when the bee no longer exists. The portraits were made using a scanning electron microscope, an image making process that employs the element gold to stimulate the tracing of a surface by an electron beam. As alchemic as silver based photography, these processes produce images that are hauntingly beautiful pointers to a silent future scenario.  Included in the exhibition are two 3D prints created from the photographs – ghost like points of reference for a memory from the future.

No Vertical Song was presented at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Fitzroy, along side the artist’s video installation Reverie and extensive public programs at St Mark’s Church, Fitzroy, as part of the ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2017 Festival.

Where and when

Centre for Contemporary Photography, 404 George Street, Fitzroy
Friday 24 March – Sunday 7 May 2017
Hours: Weds – Fri, 11am – 5pm; Sat – Sun, 12 – 5pm

Saint Mark’s Anglican Church, 260 George Street, Fitzroy
Thursday 23 March – Monday 8 May 2017
Hours: Weds – Sun, 12 – 4pm

This project has been supported by a Small Project Grant from City of Yarra.