As part of our series of blog posts on pollinators and pollinator-inspired art in the lead-up to this year’s Remembrance Day for Lost Species, we are showcasing the creative work of scientist Simon Park.
Infected and its sister project Bee-Jewelled blend horror and beauty to explore the effects of pesticides on bee populations.
Infected, 2017. Medium: a found dead bumble bee and elemental Sulphur
This work imagines pollen contaminated with bee-killing pesticides as an infectious crystallising agent that slowly kills its host by infiltrating its biology and gradually transforming it into an inanimate and yellow crystalline form. It is “much inspired” by J.G Ballard’s The Crystal World.
Bee-Jewelled was inspired when Park found out that bees, like airborne swarm filter feeders, concentrate environmental pollutants, like pesticides and fungicides. This makes them hypersensitive to a natural parasite called Nosema cerenae.
As Park explains: “With a nod to Ackroyd and Harvey, Roger Hiorns and J.G. Ballard, this work reflects the ability of bees to concentrate environmental chemicals and highlights fears for their extinction.”
Simon Park on his practice:
“I’m not an artist, but a liberal scientist whose work explores the deep connections of the natural world… My goal is simple: to explore the inherent creativity of the natural world and to reveal its subtle, and usually hidden narratives, and above all to reveal its wonder. My hope is that my works will allow the interested observer to perceive biological phenomena that would otherwise be perpetually invisible, so that the hidden machinations of the natural world are brought to light.”