Aliens Abduct Bee Population

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Aliens Abduct Bee Population

Joe Kitsch

“... there seemed to be a pattern to the music, and even though I couldn’t pick it out, that didn’t mean it wasn’t there.”
 

Interview by L. Valena

What did you respond to?

I listened to the piece of music- I didn't really know what to expect. And it was just a very interesting thing- it's not like a lot of other music that I'm familiar with. And I just picked up immediately that it was a lot of electronica, and kind of disconnected. It seemed like there was sort of a pattern but not really something that you could pick out. Something about it made me think about bees. And the way bees fly around. Because of the electronic aspect of the music, I started seeing patterns, and just thinking about bees. It was all about black and yellow, but I knew I wasn't going to have enough time to really get something as detailed with all the patterns, so I went with something a little different. I decided to go with a very playful, Weekly World News-type cover.

Can you talk some more about bees, and how you heard them in this music?

If you know things about bees, they're kind of systematic in a way. The way that they work together, and they kind of jump from flower to flower. In the same way there seemed to be a pattern to the music, and even though I couldn't pick it out, that didn't mean it wasn't there. So that's what reminded me of that.

Are you worried about bees?

Yes. I definitely don't see as many as I used to growing up. It seemed like I was always kind of swatting away a bee when summertime would come around, and thinking 'get out of my face, bee'. But haven't been having that happen a whole lot lately.

God, you're right. I guess I hadn't really thought about it in that way- you see in the news that the bee population is going down, but I guess we can see it in our daily lives as well. Is this a plausible possibility of what's going on?

Yes, they are definitely being sucked up and taken to another world. [Laughs]

Let's back up a little bit. You were thinking about bees. How did you get from there to here?

I was thinking about the bees, and I knew I wasn't going to have time to do an abstraction- a black and yellow abstraction, which was my first thought. And I wanted to do something a little more interesting than just plain abstraction. So I was just thinking about bees and their disappearances, and wanted to have a little fun with the topic. I tend to be so heavy about the idea of the extinction of a creature. So I just kind of played around, and came up with the idea of a tabloid paper. Those tabloid papers are a lot of fun- I've always seen them in the grocery store, and I went with a very iconic one, the one from the Bat Boy cover. So I looked it up to get the composition of the cover. Everything you need from that cover is laid out in there. It has the whole 'exclusive' thing- like you can only get this information here. And then there's that aspect of danger- the world is doomed without the bees. And then you have the main headline thing to catch your eye. Then the left part is about the scientist- the person who can prove it, but they're never really specific about who that person is, just that they're a scientist.

I love there are exclusive photos taken by Bigfoot in this. It really implies that Bigfoot is on our side here- we're in this together.

And that's the thing with that paper- you always have aliens, Bigfoot, the Bat Boy and there are a couple other elements.

Yes, something about Elvis, and The Skinniest Woman in the World.

Another thing about my process: the music was so digital, and mechanical, so I completely free-handed this to kind of give a little contrast to the process the music was done with.

When you look at it now, what is your favorite thing about it?

I don't know. When I look at it now I just can't believe I drew this whole thing out.

Yeah- there's some really serious attention to detail!

It's funny- just to be able to kind of crack myself up with some of the work I do, and keep it light, that's my favorite aspect of it.

Are we meant to believe that we are up close to the bee, or that this is a tiny tiny little alien spaceship? I don't know which is funnier, actually.

They could be really tiny aliens- we don't know!

Maybe that's why we can't see them- they're so small!

[Laughs]

Do you have any advice for someone else doing this project?

Don't go with your initial idea with it- take a different approach. Think about actually playing the game telephone when you were a kid. Knowing that it was a game, you weren't really supposed to get it correct. You wanted to see where it would go. Take your initial response to the piece you get, and then kind of twist it up- try to mess it up for the next person the best you can.


Call Number: M11MU | M14VA.kiAli


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Joe Kitsch is a conceptually-oriented artist who works in a wide variety of media, getting inspiration from popular culture and the sciences. He thinks bees are out of this world. (See what I did there?)