New Xanadu: Kevin Murphy

Opening Reception: July 8, 1-5 pm, in the Main Lawn. Artist Talk: August 2, 7pm, in the Garden Pavilion. Exhibition runs June 27 – August 18, 2012.

Opening Reception: July 8, 1-5 pm, in the Main Lawn

Artist Talk: August 2, 7pm, in the Garden Pavilion.

UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research is pleased to present New Xanadu, an artwork installation by Kevin Murphy.

Located in the garden’s Main Lawn, New Xanadu features an elaborate steel and plastic structure, modelled after 20th century utopian architectural styles and science fiction fantasies. Functioning as an observation hive, it houses a colony of honeybees. Solar arrays power a heater and motion-sensored shutters, which will open to allow visitors to see the working colony inside.

As a social insect, the honeybee has long been associated with ideas of divinity, utopia, and collectivity. However, these imagined and projected ideals sit uneasily alongside bees’ critical role in modern industrial agriculture, as well as their future against a growing host of diseases, parasites and other afflictions.

New Xanadu seeks to explore our conflicted relationship with this important insect, envisioning an ideal future in the anachronistic terms of an artificial and perhaps already compromised past and present.

Kevin