Buzzing Spirit in Topolò 🐝


A quick Robida update: The open call for Robida 9 magazine has been closed now for two weeks already! We wanted to thank all of you who contributed with one of your works despite our new and very complex open call system - you are wonderful! We are now already in the selection process, but please give us some time. There is just so much stuff going on.And about some of that stuff, I would like to write on this spot. Oh yeah, it’s Aljaž writing!

As I am writing this letter, it is the 13th of May. It’s 5 PM and it has been raining for a couple of days now, so I have the time to write a couple of words about a recent event that happened in Topolò. On Thursday, April 27, we introduced three bee colonies in Topolò. Early in the morning, together with Vida and our beekeeping teacher and guru Erika Mayr, I headed towards Portogruaro, where we had an appointment of meeting a beekeeper, Blaso’s friend, who offered us three bee families. Our place of delivery: a parking lot. Of all the places, a parking lot in front of a Despar store. It was 6:30 AM. I was trying to keep my cool, but the beekeeper was late. Minutes went by and we got a message: “I’ll be there in 5 minutes!” He came with a van, tired but willing to provide us with information about the bee families. He opened the door of the van. I expected chaos: loud buzzing and uncontrolled circling in the insides of the vehicle, a true bee mosh pit! But what I got were three styrofoam boxes covered with a fine metal net. Inside of those were about 30,000 bees in total. And with them - silence. I never really thought about bees before we put them in the trunk of my car. And their unusual silence was not very thought-provoking in that Tuesday morning. But then, after a while, they got a little irritated on the way home and suddenly we found ourselves surrounded by their increasingly loud buzzing and we were immersed in the buzzing spirit, Summgeist, as Erika called it*. I was hooked. It wasn’t just this spirit. I had 30.000 living beings in my trunk and they are coming with me, home, to Topolò. That’s like a 100.000 % increase in Topolò’s population. How’s that for a strategy of revitalisation of our valley?!

* BUZZING SPIRIT: These lines that always captivated me were written by the Austrian author Gerhard Roth. In his essay On Bees (1989), he speaks about the unity of the hive: like the individual perceptions and thoughts as part of a larger whole, where the individual bees come together to form a kind of "buzzing spirit", the so-called "Bien" (German). "The "Bien" is the organism composed of all bees of a colony. It has no definite appearance ... It is an unusual animal, dancing and pulsating within itself, made up of freely moving body cells, and belonging to the liquid or gaseous state of aggregation rather than the solid." His way of describing the superorganism has been with me ever since, as the so-called buzzing spirit. To me it illuminates my relationship with bees, something that carries me throughout the year. Without touching them, I am touched by them. It is not the physical proximity that binds me, but the knowledge of the hives in my care. Paradoxically, any intervention might be one too much because every intervention leads to more effort on the part of the hive because the Bien 'knows' how to survive and it is then, that it is the most beautiful to observe, because it shows itself in its true form. Indeed it is not about thy physical care and interventions, but it is about consciousness and care that lies ways beyond.
— Erika Mayr

This interest in bees, in their work and organization, struck me unexpectedly in the midst of studying the possibilities of creating affinities between different bodies, human and non-human ones; it caught me in the midst of being interested in all of the wonderful ways in which things, images, ideas, entities — everything animate and inanimate — seduce each other and create — as the Irish essayist Brian Dillon defined affinity — “something a little bit stupid,” “a realm of the unthought, unthinkable, something unkillable by attitudes or arguments". The realm of pre-thought inclination towards something, the kingdom of love, you could also call it. How can we create such a kingdom among people? Mainly through the practices of activating such affinities. And these can be drawn from many instances.

As part of Robida's workshop The Village as an Ecological Entity, which represented a further stage in the development of our project Topolò/Topolove - The Village as House, we thought about creating such interests and deep relationships. Above all, we wanted to create an appropriate environment that could serve as an interface between people and nature and thus encourage human encounters with animals and plants and reciprocal care. The beehive can thus become another spatial component in the village: a place where we sit, listen, smell, feel and think while watching the coming and going of bees. I can't write anything smart about them yet, because I'm still in that "slightly stupid" phase of collecting basic information that would sustain my interest over time and keep the bees alive! It is certain, however, that with them I feel a not so often felt sense of reciprocity between man and nature. I take care of the bee and she takes care of me. I give her a home, I dedicate my time, thoughts and care to her; she surrounds me with gifts. Developing such reciprocal relationships may be key to creating a new image of thought and ethics of the future.
At this precise moment, the rain stopped and a couple of sunbeams cut through the clouds and hit my face through the window of our house. Excuse me while I go and check on the bees.

All of these beautiful photos were taken by Teo Giovanni Poggi, during the Village as Ecological Entity workshop.

Some other information concerning Robida Collective:

→ On the 20th of May we're going to have the 4th session of the 2nd season of Radio Robida! Stay tuned for more information on our IG profile!

→ Click here to read a text on Robida Collective by the philosopher Michael Marder, titled The Faces and Surfaces of Robida - in English, Italian and Slovene! The text was commissioned by Visible (Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto e Fondazione Zegna) on the occasion of the Temporary Parliament "Decolonizzation, Resilience and Regeneration" held at the Turin Town Hall in collaboration with Polo del '900 and in the framework of Biennale Democrazia 2022.

Soon we will reveal some news on the new edition of Robida's Academy on Margins and it's Summer School! If you are super excited about these news, you can make your waiting easier by listening to some of the recordings from last year's edition of the Academy of Margins and it's Summer School!

→ In June, our dear friend Jack Bardwell comes to do a radio residency as part of Robida's project Radio Drugega / The Other Radio, which is co-financed by GO! 2025 - European Capital of Culture, Nova Gorica.

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