I recently got an email from some folks at the beehive collective- with some things for me to read over. After reading them, I'm feeling even more excited that I was before about working with the beehive over the summer. And since I feel people (family, mostly) are a little confused about what exactly the Beehive Collective is, I thought i'd give out some details.
In the words of the Beehive- their mission is to cross pollinate the grassroots, (and my favorite part...) they "think about and hold in [their] minds the macrocosm and the microcosm and think about the play between those things. So, like the big picture and the little picture and be able to exercise both those parts of our minds that way." Woah. Then the question becomes, how do they do that?
Well, also in their own words the bees "hover between being a land-based, locally-focused group of folks who live together as domestic collaborators and being a decentralized swarm of bees who are based across the hemisphere and network with each other in a consistent, semi-organized way."
What that manifests its self as (as it seems to me) is they have a strong home base in Machias, Maine (the land-based, locally-focused part). There are a few ways this seems to happen, most obviously being work on the Grange Project. The Machias Grange Hall was an old grange (1800's old), which the Beehive has worked with folks around the community (and at large) to fix up and make into a beautiful space for people to be proud of and for people to utilize. It now serves as a community space (all ages, drug and alcohol free, lots of free events). It seems pretty amazing! And the other part of this land-locally-focused aspect seems to be they way the beehive lives. The housing is collective, and when living with many people (as happens- particularly in the summer) that within its self sort of becomes a project. Living together on consensus based decisions, while working on very complex social issues (both in house, and through their work). The other part, is also something that should be part of everyday life, but doesn't seem to be- being part of the community. This sort of blurs the line between something like the grange project and internal living situations, but is really important- especially when living in a small rural town.
And then, there is the macro- the decentralized swarm of bees across the hemisphere. This is what first attracted me to the Beehive- originally as an admirer and now as a to-be-bee. In order to cross pollinate the grassroots (the most known way at any rate) the beehive creates large graphic stories about global issues (social/political namely), to help breakdown these super complex issues and cross language/education barriers that exist. For me, their posters are sort of intimidating. They are super details, and when looking at it as a whole image it seems impossible to understand (not unlike global issues- no doubt). This poster below is Plan Columbia (a 'aid' package).
*this is only 1/2 the image. I can't figure out how to make my blog images not get cut off if they are too big... so for now- you'll see half. you can see the webverion here
Pretty intense. And pretty complicated. But when you focus in on one area, you can start to break it down. In this case, the folks the beehive spoke to had shared stories that the issues they now face, can be traced back to colonization. (this image come from the top right corner of the poster)
You can start to see the detail that goes into this work. And as I sort of suggested, they don't just decide what story to tell, but rather go to the communities being effected by the issues the beehive is working on, and turn stories into artwork to communicate to a larger audience. The poster goes through a long history of how things got to be how they are in Columbia (particularly, considering the coca plant), but ends with (as their posters often do- from the 2 i've seen) with an optimistic view of what is happening. Stories of resistance and of what can be. What might be my favorite part, is the ants on the side of the image, breaking it down and carrying it underground (which, that type of ant it is, does in real life). Through their hard and persistent work, they are helping to uncover a world of story sharing, solidarity, and permaculture.
So, that's a bit about the Beehive Collective.
If i didn't make it clear, I'm insanely excited to work with them! This is how I currently see them, but maybe it's not fully how it is. I'm sure it's super complicated and after a summer I'll have a better grasp of things- but for now- that's what I have to say them.
Hopefully I'll get a chance to fully explain their work to everyone later (and maybe get a hold of some posters to share in person)