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Michelle Kelly Rogers

Apiary & Melipona Investigations

“For often nature reaches her goal by another path, where man cannot see his way.” -Karl von Frisch, Austrian Ethnologist

The art works in Apiary & Melipona Investigations are designed to create an awareness of the environmental issues pertinent to the disappearance of bees and to introduce the general public to “bee culture.” In addition, the artworks employ the beehive, swarming and an array of bee actions as proposed metaphorical models for the improvement of human social relations, architecture and behavior. 

Ecology and the politics of nature have become an increasingly central theme in my artistic practice and in international forums of contemporary art since the seventies. My work attempts to make a contribution to this field of artistic knowledge by expanding the context of production of artworks into the realm of concrete actions in the environment and in society.

Michelle K. Rogers’ artistic practice is trans-disciplinary, merging the fields of art and science. Her larger project, Apiary and Melipona Investigations, is the synthesis of years of research into the world of bees and the relationship that humans have established with the hive throughout history. At the intersection between social practice and environmental activism, Rogers’ work finds a powerful metaphor in the organization of the hive and the behavior of bees as a model for social improvement.

Through her dedication to researching bees and pollination, she has been involved in several conservation and research efforts, both locally and internationally. Previously, she worked on Operation Pollinator, a native bee research project, at the Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory (HBREL) at the University of Florida. For five years, she held the position as the African Honey Bee Identifier, testing honey bee samples throughout Florida and other states. She is certified in two current methods of honey bee identification to the sub-species level, using morphological analysis. Recently, she was resident apiarist and the Officer of Complex(ity) at Mildred’s Lane.