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Apidictor Symphony

March’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Deborah Margo and Annette Hegel to support an outdoor art installation examining the flight paths and sound-making of bumble bees.

The project, which they are calling “Apidictor Symphony,” will be shown as part of Fieldwork’s 10th anniversary exhibition, in rural eastern Ontario, from May to November. “Fieldwork’s meadow,” Deborah explains, “will contain a mowed series of wide, crossing paths reproducing the complex pattern and scale of the bumble bee’s actual flight path. Visitors will be able to walk the pathways, listening to her pollinator conversations and songs. These soundscapes will relate to each other like movements of a symphony.”

“As part of the installation,” Deborah continues, “we are creating a series of giant nectar pods made of honey-coloured fiberglass, housing solar-powered amplifiers and speakers. The sounds will be collected and transmitted from apidictors, measuring and recording devices filtering bumble bee ‘music’ to make certain frequencies easier to hear. They will be placed in nectar-rich areas of the terrain, with their contents subsequently transmitted to the pods’ amplifiers in the meadow.”

“Apidictor Symphony is a celebration and warning about environmental well-being,” Deborah explains. “If we want bumble bees to continue their work, we need to learn to listen a lot closer.” You can follow their project and have a listen at https://apidictorsymphony.wordpress.com.

Deborah and Annette are Ottawa-based visual artists interested in the confluence of art, nature, and science. They are also avid growers of plants and self-described fierce guardians of pollinators.


Funded by Ottawa, ON (March 2017)