The Spirit of the Hive

Lecture | Vortrag
im Rahmen des | in the framework of "time:festival"
Ghent | Gent, April 20-27, 2007 | 20.-27.04.

At first sight, mutual ties between insects and humans seem rather sparse. Figuratively spoken, the tree of biological evolution spread its branches considerably far to separate the four-legged mammal from the egg-born creature with its six-legged and chitin-armoured body. Hence no wonder that when it comes to insects, human perspective may distinguish pest from a more or less useful rest – however, in more general terms insects are perceived as strange and alien "others", either fascinating or abject, and perhaps both at the same time.

Yet probably for this very reason we find insects also as favourite subject for a whole range of cultural fantasies, phantasms and projections, their role varying related to changing historical, ethnical, political and aesthetic interests configuring the latter.
In this context, so called "politcal" or eusocial insects – bees, ants and termites; hence: the insects Maurice Maeterlinck devoted his widely read books – have held a prominent position from early on; be it as mirror, as exemplar or – in fact rather more lately – as horrific antipodes.

The lecture will explore this field by taking a closer look especially onto the phantasmatic obsession with bees in cultural history, science, literature and visual arts from 19th century to present; from symbolism's taste for amalgamizations of natural science, philosophical speculation, social utopia and esotericism over 20th century Cold War political fantasies, science fiction and cybernetics to contemporary A.I. (artficial intelligence) and nano science speculations with its special taste for hive mind intelligence and swarm organization.

Hintergrundinformationen | Background Information:

Forschungsprojekt Insekten-Imagologie auf www.under-construction.cc | research project Insect Imagology at www.under-construction.cc

Forschungsschwerpunkt Metamorphosen auf www.under-construction.cc | research focus Metamorphoses at www.under-construction.cc

projects: A2D2A, INSECT IMAGOLOGY, Metaphorology of Media, MEDIOLOGIES, METAMORPHOSES, TechnoNatureCultures

mainprojects: MEDIOLOGIES, TechnoNatureCultures

tags: alltagskultur, alltagstechnologie, art history, cultural entomology, cultural history, digital culture, digitale kultur, ecology, electronic arts, elektronische kunst, environment, everyday cultures, everyday technologies, green, grün, history of science, insects, insekten, kulturentomologie, kulturgeschichte, kunstgeschichte, media, media archaeology, media history, medien, medienarchäologie, mediengeschichte, net culture, netzkultur, ökologie, popular culture, populärkultur, science, technologie, technology, umwelt, wissenschaft, wissenschaftsgeschichte



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