Man coaxes bees to create world maps out of beeswax, is probably a bee telepath

Bees are the best cartographers.

Mar 1, 2020, 2:13 am*

Internet Culture

 

Aja Romano

Chinese artist Ren Ri has a passion for interacting with nature, so he did what anyone would do—he started his own beehives and spends years coaxing the bees to create intricate maps of the world from their beeswax.

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Whoa.

Frankly, we have no idea how Ri makes this happen. The official information brochure on his famous bee-related artwork mentions only that he manipulated the queen of the hive “to move towards different locations and at different angles, so that the bees would build the beehive at my desired location.”

We can only assume that this means he has a superpower letting him communicate telepathically with bees, because there’s “manipulating a bee to move around a little” and then there’s “manipulating a beehive to build a perfect map of the Korean peninsula”:

Seriously, look at this.

Map of the USA

Map of the USA

Pearl Lam Galleries

Map of the Korean Peninsula

Map of the Korean Peninsula

Pearl Lam Galleries

Map of the South Pole

Map of the South Pole

Pearl Lam Galleries

Mongolia

Mongolia

Pearl Lam Galleries

Check out the dazzling array of world maps in the Pearl Lam Catalogue here (PDF link).

Here’s a making-of video in which Ri discusses his process. To create the maps, he essentially placed a world map inside the hive and then let the bees construct their hive on top of it. 

It still sounds a lot like magic to us, but what do we know? We’re not the super-powered bee-whispering artist cartographer here.

Photo via Pearl Leam Galleries

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*First Published: Jun 5, 2015, 1:33 pm