Taking The “Eek” Out Of Beekeeping

3D-Printed Beehive
3D-Printed Beehive

The beekeeping world has been rocked to its foundation by an amazing new exhibit at the Ideal Hive Show: Serge Pantalon has invented a hive without bees. “We’ve taken the “eek” out of beekeeping,” said Avril Fule, Animatrice Générale of the Institut Pantalon. “What’s left is “beeping” – yep, it’s “beeping” important, too: no bees,” Avril purred: And it’s called the PHOOLE (Pantalon Hive Omni-Original Limited Edition).

A prompt-card fluttered to the ground, proclaiming: “In early 2015, zeitgeist mentor, paradigm-shifter and philosopher Serge Pantalon saw a gap in the market.” Avril shuffled the card back into the deck and continued: “That was where art met evolution. Serge had spent years listening to beekeepers moaning on and on about this, that and the other: stings, swarms, varroa, unflattering bee-suits, anaphylactic shock. It was obvious that problem with beekeeping was the bees. So why not liberate the bees from the drudge of honey production and the beekeepers from the burden of looking after the bees? It’s the simple genius of subtractive intuition. Thinking outside the box. Literally. I mean, the box hasn’t been made that Serge can’t think outside of. He can even think without a box at all ! In fact, Serge is the sort of guy who unticks all sorts of boxes.

A Normal Beehive
A Normal Beehive

Avril took a sip of water and gestured towards the standard PHOOLE, with its simple set of instructions (slightly smudged onto a single folded sheet of A4) which guides the owner of a new PHOOLE to achieve perfect plug ‘n’ play honey production. The technique is to buy a jar of your favourite honey and pump it into the printer. The printer then layers the honey into the cells and seals the honeycomb with wax. Then it uncaps the cells and spins out the honey, passing it through filters and ripening it for a few days, before putting it back in the jar. The whole process should take less than a week – and hey presto! A jar of your favourite honey – with nary a bee in sight!

Avril chimed: “Yes, It may be a little more expensive initially (it’s about the price of a small family car) and yes, it looks just like an empty beehive, but in fact it is packed with post-modern irony and Serge’s subtractive creativity.”  A bystander muttered that it looked pretty much like an ordinary beehive. “Oh no,” Avril retorted: “Each PHOOLE has a numbered swing-tag verifying its authenticity, in a very real sense of the word. PHOOLEs are very collectable. Every family should have one.”

Jess Maidytup, On-Line Healing Technician for The Racing Post, enthused: “We’re now seeing honeybees liberated from millions of years of servitude as unpaid honey-toilers in the workhouse. Casting off their shackles, our worker-bee sisters and half-sisters are free to pursue more fulfilling careers as trainee bomb-detectors, stockbrokers or professional dancers.” She drew breath and continued: “Not since the Corby Trouser Press revolution in the 1960s liberated women from ironing the bottom two-thirds of trouser legs has such a wave of female creative energy been released from mundane tasks. Let’s face it, bees need hives like Top Gear needs Clarkson or a kingfisher needs a weasel.

Describing himself as a recently-lapsed member of the general public, student Freddie Furstheim-Voda had just visited the PHOOLE stand and came away agog: “Cool. I’ve just been shown the prototype of the new PHONI (Pantalon Hive Original Network Installation). It’s a beehive which has been 3D-printed into the form and function of a mobile phone. No, yes. It’s awesome. A bit sticky with the external honey-tap option, though” (Editor’s note: honey-tap accessory does not come as standard). “So I’ve ordered a colour-matched shower-cap from PHONI accessory catalogue to wear when I’m, y’know, facetiming on the hand-held”.

At that stage a curious honeybee buzzed into the room pursued by a Health and Safety officer wearing a high-visibility jacket, flapping his arms and shouting: “Step away!” he barked. He continued: “A wild animal has entered the premises and I have reason to believe that it is venomous. I have no option but to put the whole of South Kensington into lock-down, including this here courtesy bar and first-aid area. Please evacuate the building,” as he took aim with his Taser.

« Et voilà » shrugged the great man himself.

Serge A La Plage
Serge Pantalon’s 3D-Printer Self-Portrait Installation On Walberswick Beach Rivals Aldeburgh’s Scallop.

Telling The Bees

Taking The Keys To The Bees

Telling the bees” is a folkloric tradition which embraces the intimacy between a beekeeper and his bees. The beekeeper gently raps on the hive with his house-keys to get the bees’ attention and then tells them about hatches, matches and dispatches in his family.

Now, Serge Pantalon – philosopher and self-proclaimed “movement” – has turned this concept on its head with the first work of Twitterature which interprets what the bees want to communicate to the human race. After all, Pantalon points out, they’ve had the best part of 20 million years to consider the matter.

While researching his nano-novel “Verity”, Pantalon employed method acting techniques to “become the bee”. Curating his own performances, Serge was able to unleash his inner bee, repeatedly banging his head against the window-panes of Starbucks on sunlit afternoons, waggle-dancing around carriages on the Circle Line and nose-pollinating Hyde Park’s wildflower meadows, while limiting himself to a cast-list of no more than 140 characters.

Serge has run up large overdue fees at the lending library of life,” explained Avril Fule, Animatrice Générale of the Institut Pantalon, breathlessly reading from a pink Post-It note at the launch party, congregated in a cardboard eco-yurt on the pavement between Hatchards and Fortnum’s. “And what with all the rumpus over complaints from Starbucks customers, commuters and sunbathers, Serge and a small group of followers have flown the nest, a sort of sergian swarm. Pluckily, Serge has consented to join us today by video-link from his top-secret island retreat.“

“Now, before I orate”, Avril trilled: “Serge asked me to mention that he doesn’t care whether you are sitting comfortably, or not. And please leave your telephones on, so our agent, Eyesore, Ewecumin can buzz you to crowd-fund the film rights. Bitcoin only, please.

Avril took a shallow breath, donned her purple nitrile gloves and picked up the Rizla paper on which “Veritywas inscribed. Squinting through her bee-veil, she intoned:

Where there are human beings, there exists the possibility of turmoil.

Then she ignited the paper and lit a patchouli-scented smoker. “The End”, she exhaled and ice-bucket-challenged herself. Symbolically.

Texting her wild applause, Jess Maidytup, Creative Arts correspondent of the Catering Times ad-libbed: “It’s a literary Tardis: it has just 11 words, but contains 68 characters and the bee-world’s testimony on mankind. This is the spoiler for every story ever told,  from the Bible to The Sun: people just screw stuff up. For me, it’s Serge’s signature dish, a purée de Pantalon which liberates us from the tedium of having to read books from cover to cover.”

Avril purred: “And remember, people, “Verity” is only available in three form-factors: Spotify Premium, fridge-magnet or luminous rubber wristband. Reckless!”

« Et voilà » shrugged the great man. And the screen went dark.

Serge Pantalon
Stop Press: Pantalon Snapped At His Beach Hideaway

Shock Claim: “King Harold Was Slain By A Giant Varroa Mite”

Varroa Mite and Norman Knight
Shock Claim: A Varroa Mite Slayed King Harold

Serge Pantalon, philosopher and self-proclaimed “mouvement”, has shocked the beekeeping world with evidence from the Bayeux Tapestry that the varroa mite arrived in England as the secret weapon of the Norman Invaders in 1066. In a sensational claim, he reveals that the English King was killed by a giant varroa mite, not a Norman arrow.

The evidence is striking. Using modern imaging technology, Pantalon has detected a giant varroa mite, under-stitched into the first weave of the famous Bayeux Tapestry, stealing away like an assassin from the scene of Harold’s death (see picture).

Furthermore, Pantalon argues that the notion that the English King was killed by an arrow in his eye is a product of academic sloppiness. He explains that the word “arrow” is a medieval corruption of the Old English word “varrowa“, or, as we now call it, “varroa“.

And when the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded the Battle of Hastings thus: “at the battaile by the hoarie apple tree the militarye mite of the Ffrench did slay Kinge Haralde“, historians have overlooked the obvious meaning, according to Pantalon. Might not the words “militarye mite” simply refer to an elite, killer varroa mite on a mission, rather than being lazily mis-translated by generations of scholars as “military might” ?

This is so Serge“, said Avril Fule, Secretary of the Pantalon Appreciation (National Treasure) Society (PANTS). “He’s a genius. People used to think that King Harold was killed by an arrow and that the varroa mite only arrived on these shores in 1992. And now we know that the Battle of Hastings was won by a giant parasitic insect whose descendants have been bothering bees in this country since 1066. Hardly a week goes by without Serge rewriting history. It’s pure Pantalon“.

Et voilà“, the great man said.

Broken Phone Art : “Bee”

Bee: this statement piece fuses the yellows and blacks of the bees with hues of honey and sky into a droplet of pure energy.
“Bee” fuses yellow and black bee-markings with blue-sky streaks and hues of honey into a droplet of dynamic inertia.

I shut my mobile in the car door last weekend. “Broken Phone Art” was born ! Here’s the prototype image: “Bee”.

Fittingly, I was arriving at a rather refined exhibition by proper artists Jenny Hall and her sister Jeanine when this transformational moment in the course of Western crossover culture occurred. Anyway, here’s a straw poll on “BPA“:

Jess Maidytup, Future Art Historian, enthused: ““Broken Phone Art was a profoundly democratic artform. Smashing down the fine art barricades, this literally ground-breaking genre allowed the hand-held zeitgeist to break free. Any dolt with a volt could do BPA – in fact, the clumsier, the better!

Noh Dhal Toan, a south-east Asian/southern-oriental London mobile performance artist concurred: “Yes, a £9.98 Samsung from Tescos can be transformed into a timeless, mute masterpiece.” He then mimed: The bee-image floats like a water-lily on the screen and, beneath, the SIM-card hangs, still as a koi. Mounting his unicycle, he tweeted on a tablet: “Yet to reach the SIM at the core, you have to slay the screen. Schrodinger’s Cat, or what ?

Somewhat less poetically, recently-divorced art-collector Charlie Tiffmeister said: “BPA has recycled the cultural bandwidthI’d like to shake this guy by the larynx. But I think I’ll just wait for Damian to knock off a couple of 4Gs for me.”

The general public was singularly unimpressed:“Nah…looks like some geezer’s run amok with a fried egg to me, guv. These food bloggers will photoshop anything nowadays, if you ask me. Look, I ran over this bloke’s iPhone 5 outside Tate Modern yesterday…so does that make me Salvador bleedin’ Dali ?” remonstrated Bermondsey taxi-driver Terry Fearne-Homard.

Back to Jess Maidytup for the final word on the passing of this phenomenon: “BPA has put transience on the map forever. It was the crest of a wave, a wharholian tsunami, sluiced down a Bazalgette sewer. Fundamentally, the art world recognized this for what it was: the movement of a moment.”

Private View of “Bee” at the O2: One night only (last Monday)