Word The Cat

Word the Cat

cosmopollination: a radio programme about urban beekeeping

Posted by Chris on October 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm  

Since April 2011, myself and Alyssa Moxley have been recording people who keep bees in London, their hives and the soundscape around… We spoke to people from Capital Bee, the Golden Company, Walworth Garden Farm and the Southbank Centre and recorded them tending to their hives and discussing what the practice of beekeeping and the organisation of the hive mean to them and to the wider urban environment. The programme was broadcast on Resonance FM on Tuesday 27th September.


More and more organisations are turning to beekeeping as a way to embed themselves into the urban fabric. The bees activity is a (embed) code which draws upon the urban environment, condenses it and transforms it into food. Pollen from plants 3 miles around the hive is collected and transformed into honey. People with severe allergies seek out local honey because the pollen from their surroundings, re-processed into something benign and absorbable by their bodies can increase immunity. Likewise, a bank or arts centre can embed itself into their physical locality quite easily by putting hives on the roof and having the bees forage in parks, gardens and window boxes nearby. Airborne urban farming which stitches itself into the city and re-processes urban materials into food.

Here are some of our recordings manipulated and re-presented as a 10 minute soundscape. The bass is by “Variacoes em La” by Carlos Baretto.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

bee soundscape


“After they developed social living, they realised that diversity was a help”

The queen bee carries around all the sperm she will ever use after one mating cycle. The bees in the hive will share the same mother, but have many fathers. Genetic variety in the hive allows for more gradated behaviour: If it gets cold outside, several bees will stop work and concentrate on insulating the hive with their bodies, if it gets cooler still, more bees will switch to working on insulation. If all the bees had the same genetics they would be more likely to switch behaviour at the same point, abandoning the other tasks in the hive. “They actually operate like they care less about identity and more about function. The function being preserving the conditions required to make new life.”

“honeybees bring in spring”

Bees are pollinators. This is one of the reasons that people are so worried about the colony collapse disorder. Honeybees (as opposed to solitary bees) move in an organised mass, the weight of their pollination is one of the factors in allowing the change in seasons to be realised and for new plants to bloom.

granular lamb

Posted by Chris on February 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm  

granular lamb from Whirring Cat on Vimeo.

spring is coming. lambs get granular synthesised.

hype_dated weather

Posted by Chris on January 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm  

absen(t/ce) apologies. hopefully this will be the first of many posts as i attempt to get back on the horse called blog.



winter brought snow. a fair bit of it. dubsola did a mix about snow. it’s soft and well formed, nestled inside a zip file here.


Hauschka – Ginsterweg (from Snowflakes and Car Wrecks)
Inch Time – Icicles and Snowflakes
Ezekial Honig – Fractures and Fissures
Robin Saville – Snow Jewel
Tenniscoats – Aurora Curtains
The Necks – Drive By
Harold Budd – As Long As I Can Hold My Breath
Fluxion – Atlos
Carl Craig – Es. 30
Vainqueur – Elevation
Indio – Snowdrifts


“In his essay The City in the Age of Touristic Reproduction, Boris Groys traces the tourist back to Kant’s Critique of Judgement before aligning it with the view of a satellite. In the same essay he argues that the theme park is more primary: ‘[P]resent-day urban architecture has now begun to move faster than its viewers. This architecture is almost always already there before the tourists arrive. In the race between tourists and architecture it is now the tourist who loses. Although the tourist is annoyed to encounter the same architecture everywhere he goes, he is also amazed to see how successful a certain type of architecture has proved to be in a wide range of disparate cultural settings.’ The theme park arrives first, because it is finally immaterial; the power which it exerts is finally a virtual power. The power of the virtual.” from.

DELAY! Delay dElay deLay delAy delaY……..

margaret dygas – invisible circles

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

from last year on the perlon label. brutalist like snow.


indexicality is overrated

Posted by Chris on October 16, 2009 at 5:58 am  

permanent shipping forecast. now and forever. here. via the king of the sheep. ssh. no danger of confusion. north sea fishermen have (a) wireless but don’t stream.


summer rain…

Posted by Chris on July 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm  

…with variations of movement in density and angle. brutal clouds. here they threaten compositions for lonely gorillas.

molly berg and stephen vitiello – dogs / last clarinet kouala


tropikal romantik

Posted by Chris on August 4, 2008 at 8:37 am  

less haste more speed…

where i am now is muggy. tropical can mean something physical. cicadas crackling underneath. before i was where i am some nice people gave me some muggy music.

seb tells me ‘mooi oema’ is dutch-crole patois meaning ‘beautiful woman’. beautiful women deserve big vocals and busy drops.

Sonora Paramarera – Mooi Oema 8.9mb

j/r wrote a fair bit about this here. change keys and go. ladies free.

Damas Gratis – La Primera del Borracho (ta) 4.4mb

i’m not on the internets much where i am so i beg your patience for a while, & i won’t be able to weigh in on any rowdy super-intelligent bee fights ;)

Word the Cat...