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Aganetha Dyck and the Honeybees: The Evolution of an Interspecies Creative Collaboration


Aganetha Dyck and the Honeybees: The Evolution of an Interspecies Creative Collaboration

Leedahl, Taylor (2013) Aganetha Dyck and the Honeybees: The Evolution of an Interspecies Creative Collaboration. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis is an exploration of Canadian artist Aganetha Dyck’s interspecies collaboration with honeybees. From 1991 to 2013 Dyck created hundreds of sculptures and installations with honeybees by placing found and handmade objects into commercial beehives. I argue that through this practice Dyck has created a unique approach to collaboration and interspecies relationality in that she establishes a symmetrical creative partnership wherein the production of art relies on both Dyck and the honeybees: their unique and complementary knowledges, skills, and access points into ecological and social communities. This thesis begins by situating the practice within posthumanist theory in that Dyck underscores honeybees as important ecological actors in our interconnected environment, which departs from the humanist boundary-making techniques and hierarchical arrangement of species thinking. I then trace Dyck’s career from her pre-honeybee art career to a retrospective of her work with honeybees, Aganetha Dyck: Guest Workers (2011, Confederation Centre for the Arts, Art Gallery, Charlottetown, PEI), to elucidate the developments in Dyck’s approach to the bees: initially Dyck employed honeybees as sculptors that provided distinctive materials, building methods, and metaphors for human sexuality; eventually this progressed into an appreciation for how the presence of the honeybees generates ideas about their entanglement with human culture, and especially about the emergence of Colony Collapse Disorder in the twenty-first century. Ultimately, their symmetrical collaboration provides two key insights: that art historical notions of collaboration depend upon shared language systems and are therefore inherently closed to interspecies authorship; and that by operating under the belief that there are no differences in value between organisms, this practice remains sensitive to its own broader context and successfully illuminates the interconnectedness at play in the world. Dyck and the honeybees are figured as individual historical entities whose multi-authored artworks, like fossils, mark their historical locatedness.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Leedahl, Taylor
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:15 September 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Huneault, Kristina
Keywords:Aganetha Dyck, Honeybees, Colony Collapse Disorder, Interspecies Collaboration, Posthumanism, Species
ID Code:977789
Deposited On:25 Nov 2013 17:02
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:45
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