ULTRAMAR COLLECTIVE > Beekeepers in Glostrup

Beekeepers in Glostrup (excerpt)
hd video

Beekeepers in Glostrup is a sensory video piece that follows Viggo, the senior beekeeper of Copenhagen County Beekeeper’s Association (KABF), in an intimate spectacle of union with his honeybees. Viggo’s interaction with the honeybees shatters the aura of fear and imminent danger that commonly surrounds the insects. In an act of surrender, he embraces the potential of sting with peaceful tenderness, expressing the inner delights of being a beekeeper. Filmed on a cold summer Sunday, the other beekeepers from the association come to watch Viggo’s surprising interaction with the hive, which is at once humorous, tender and unsettling.

Filmed in 96 frames per second, the piece takes the style of vérité documentation to a psychological place. The slow motion mimics the creeping sensation of remembering and the seeping stickiness of nostalgia. This aesthetic, together with the ultrasound-like texture of the sounds, takes the viewer inwards towards their buried memories, and inwards within the hive.

The crackling of the bees is recorded using a contact microphone placed against the wax panel inside a beehive. The sounds are an aural documentation of the vibrations of the bees as they collide with the surface of the wax. This audible flickering is visceral; it is the flickering of tiny wing and legs, the flickering vibrations travelling through wax, the flickering grain of the image, and it forebodes the flickering texture of the song to come.

The song, "Home, Sweet Home", is layered with an analogical noise that takes us back to a time long ago. It is one of the oldest sound recordings made in Denmark in the late 1800s, and is taken from the Ruben Collection sound archive of The Royal Library. Using the first phonograph brought to Denmark the song was recorded on wax cylinder, the most popular recording format at the time. The vibrations of the sound, voice and piano in this case, made indentations on the cylinder. Through the wax, a thick crackling texture is produced, reminiscent of a different time—a time of familiar nostalgia; reminiscent of the sounds of a hive—a delight coated with sting.