Project Description

In the ancient villages of the Baltic, beekeeping is a sacred art of communion. The mathematics of the beehive. This project surrounds interspecies migration and emigration and the end of bees, the counting of dwindling vibrating bodies. The houses we live in, and how they hold us, and when and why and how they cease to do so. The destruction of native places, native beings. A film and music collaboration for performance with pianist Aron Kallay and composer Tom Flaherty.  Read an interview about the project with Wikswo and Flaherty >>

Artist Statement

When I first encountered Tom Flaherty’s “Shepard’s Pi,” the word “apimanias” began spiraling through my mind alongside the music. I find the musical work quite charming and endearing – it suggests an obsessive, insistent structural precision, a kind of auditory engineering that is similar to the unrelenting, exciting din of skyscraper construction – something rising, and yet never seeming to finish. Admirable, and inexorable, it’s the din of highly controlled creation. I immediately thought of bees. The preoccupying, intrusive, dominating and yet subtly complex sound of their wings spiraling in circles of flight – annoying, but breathtaking, and also quite gorgeous. As I read the score of Tom’s piece, the carefully nested progression of concentric octaves somehow echoed the precise mathematics bees use to build the structure of their hive. The Greek mathematician Archimedes approximated Pi by inscribing a hexagon into a circle: that is at the heart of bee geometry as well – their honeycomb is a mass of hexagonal wax cells that contain their larvae, honey and pollen. And dreams. The word Apimanias means “an excessive interest in bees.” And hidden within the word Apimanias is another word: pi.

While I was working on my B/ee-Movie, I became obsessed by the posture of the bees – their hunched backs bent down intently over their mathematical task. This ominous, slightly maniacal physical shape that suggests obsession and inexorable focus. During this time, I saw a video of Tom’s piece in performance and recognized an uncanny similarity between the bees and the toy piano player – both hump-backed and crouched, singlemindedly constructing geometry within a creation device…I suspect the honeycomb and the piano may serve the same function for two different species. Or perhaps, not so different species. I know pianists have very good posture, especially Aron.

Read an interview about the project with Wikswo and Flaherty >>


excerpted from ZEMGALE
by Quintan Ana Wikswo



One feather fell from the ceiling – a perfectly clean, crisp ceiling with no visible birds. No visible signs of verbs. I mean, bees.

This feather fell into the stack of pills. I had them in a vase instead of flowers. I’d gone to see the neurologist. The neurologist said,here are some pills. They’re very new. We don’t really know what they do. Try them out, and see what happens.

They were in a cardboard portfolio, with a photo of two generations of humans embracing, unencompered by disability. On the portfolio, words – Zimgala is freedom. Mobility. Independence. Pills encapsulated in plastic and aluminum foil and existential verbs. I mean, bees.


The city urinates its medications. He threw his pills into the Baltic Sea, and the gulls dove for them. Despair. Defiance. Gravity. Hunger. No visible signs of verbs.

To love a verb is to do, to be, to go, to see, to want, to believe, to know, to have. Some loves are only nouns. Daffodils. Pillow. Remorse. Amulet. Bee-keeper.


In the world before, in Zemgale, in Latvia, I had rows of handpainted blue boxes, always vibrating.


Published in Beyond Baroque (performance, April 2012)




(c) 2012
animated 35mm stills by QUINTAN ANA WIKSWO
music composed by TOM FLAHERTY

performed on toy piano by ARON KALLAY

Premiered at BEYOND BAROQUE on 28 April, 2012

all rights reserved by the artists
April 28, 2012