Susan Hauri-Downing ecoartist

AIQueen AI Queen, 2012, porcelain jewellery box, bees wax, mp4 video, 15x15x8cm

We romanticise beekeeping despite the technologisation of the beekeeping industry and animal husbandry in general: the happy, busy bees fly out of their homes every morning, visiting flowers and collecting honey for humans to eat; beekeepers gently open hives nestled in the forest to remove the gift amid smoke and buzzing. Modern commercial beekeeping is much more intensive and invasive: trucks and forklifts transport stacks of boxes, dead bees are scraped from extracting room floors, semen is extracted from drones by humans in laboratories and queen bees are artificially inseminated with glass pipettes while held in forceps. AI Queen explores the relationships between the domestic and domesticated. This work reveals the industry necessary to produce objects for domestic decoration and domestic animals for human agriculture. It questions the stories we tell ourselves and what we value.