Performance artist Lori Weidenhammer has created a persona called Madame
Beespeaker, inspired by the lost folklore of "telling the bees." During the
Second Site Collective show she will be the resident beespeaker in Van
Dusen Gardens this summer.
Madame Dolittle would like to hear from you! Do you have any special
messages for the bees? Whether you suffer from and seek relief from
anxieties, ailments, sorrows, lost objects, or simply wish to share the
gratitude of your recent joys, Madame Dolittle will pass your messages onto
the honeybees, bumblebees, and other enlightened insects. You can reach her
at [email protected].
Who Will Tell the Bees? Telling the bees is a tradition dating back to
Medieval times, where a designated "beespeaker" visited the apiaries to
tell the bees about significant events in the lives of the community. It is
still thought by some apiarists that when a beekeeper dies someone must
inform the hives of her death and introduce them to their new keeper. It
has been observed that failure to report the beekeeper's death will cause
the bees to swarm.
As Canada becomes increasingly urbanized, it becomes more important to grow
food right in our cities. Since honeybees help pollinate food crops and
provide us with honey, the city of Vancouver made it legal for apiarists to
keep hives in their urban back yards. Currently, wild and domestic
populations of bees are in peril in North America and Europe. Find out from
Madame Beespeaker what you can do to help save the bees.
During the residency in Van Dusen Gardens, the artist will install a tent
in the shape of a bee skep. The tent will act as a communications hub where
Dolittle will collect messages for the bees. As part of the Second Site
show at Vancouver's Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, Madame Beespeaker will be
appearing from 11am to 4pm near the bee hives on the following days
The Opening: Saturday June 30 and Sunday July 1st, 11am-4pm (All the
artists in the Second Site will be in residence during the opening: Ken
Gregory, Diana Burgoyne, Robin Ripley, Matt Smith, Lori Weidenhammer and
Peter Courtemanche. Pick up a fold-out map at the entrance to help you find
Sunday July 8: 11am to 4pm, Tuesday July 10: 11 to 4pm, Sunday July 15:
11am to 4pm, Tuesday July 17: 11am to 4pm, Wed July 25: 11am to 4pm, Sunday
July 29: 11am to 4pm, Monday July 30: 11am to 4pm
There will also be a closing celebration on Sunday, Sept 23.
Please note that unless you are a member of the Van Dusen Gardens, there is
a small fee charged at the door. Bring a picnic or grab a panini at the
outdoor vendor. There is also a restaurant with a lovely patio overlooking
the children's garden.
Follow the links below for more information:
Madame Beespeaker will also be appearing at the UBC Farm on Saturday July
7, during market hours (9am to 1pm).
(image - L. Weidenhammer)