Next ArtSci salon March 12: Beeing Biodiverse & The Art of Spying on Wild Bees

Bees are spectacularly beautiful, remarkably diverse and extremely important. In the first part of the evenings deliberations, Laurence Packer will explain why bees are so misunderstood and why they are important.

In the second part of the event, Sarah Peebles will present Audio Bee Booths & Cabinets. This installation fosters the art and science of observing native bees and their role in pollination ecology. Peebles will discuss her desire to cultivate a mental image of biodiversity through art, and her evolving approach to creating amplified habitat installations for wild bees – works which intersect habitat interpretation, bio-art, sound installation and sculpture.  Peebles and Packer’s ongoing dialogue since 2007 has also included the creation of Resonating Bodies Bee Trading Cards (series 1), which will be disseminated to the audience for trading.

Join us to this special event
Thursday March 12, 6:00-8:00
The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences
222 College Street, Toronto

Beeing Biodiverse & The Art of Spying on Wild Bees
Laurence Packer (melittologist, York University)
Sarah Peebles (composer, improviser and installation artist)

the event will be streamed! visit


Sarah Peebles is a Toronto-based American composer, improviser and installation artist. Since 2008 she has collaborated with artists, technicians and bee biologists on a series of projects addressing pollination ecology and biodiversity, entitled “Resonating Bodies”. Much of her work explores digitally manipulated found sound, unconventional methods of amplification, and distinct approaches to improvisation on the shoh, the Japanese mouth-organ used in gagaku. Peebles’ activities over the past 3 decades have been wide-ranging, and include music for dance, multi-channel sound, radio, video/film, performance art and integrated media, sound installation and improvised performance. Her music is published on Unsounds, Cycling ’74, innova Recordings, Spool, Post-Concrète, CBC Music, and others. Details and recordings are at and

Laurence Packer: I am a melittologist. A melittologist is someone whose main academic passion is the study of wild bees. This means someone who studies bees other than the domesticated western honey bee.
It’s not that I do not like Apis mellifera, it’s just that it is only one out of over 20,000 described bee species. Few people pay attention to the ~20,061 (Discover Life, as of Aug 12, 2014) other bee species, whereas there are whole societies dedicated to the study and culturing of this one. When people find out that I study bees, invariably the next thing they say concerns the honey bee. I will then point out that asking me a question about Apis mellifera is like asking an ornithologist a question about chickens.

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