Photographer: Mark Hadden

BEAM at Glastonbury Festival 2019 by Wolfgang Buttress | Installations ×

Photographer: Mark Hadden

BEAM at Glastonbury Festival 2019 by Wolfgang Buttress | Installations ×

Photographer: Mark Hadden

BEAM at Glastonbury Festival 2019 by Wolfgang Buttress | Installations ×

This year the Greenpeace Field at Glastonbury festival presents a 30m diameter woodland dome pavilion made from over 7000 locally sourced and unprocessed Sitka Spruce posts. BEAM is a sculptural installation by artist Wolfgang Buttress who is well known for his multi award winning Hive sculpture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. BEAM highlights and expresses the plight of the honey bee and the essential role they play in pollinating 30% of the food we eat.

Visitors enter the woodland pavilion through numerous pathways lined by rising tree trunks inter-planted with wildflowers leading to an 11m wide hexagonal clearing. The internal space is surrounded by 3.5m high wooden lenticular screens to create a fully immersive experience.

The installation will use accelerometers (vibration sensors) to measure the activity of the Cornish Black Bee colony living at Michael Eavis’ Worthy Farm at Glastonbury. These live signals will be sent through to the sculpture and algorithms will be used to convert these vibrational signals into ever changing lighting and sound effects 24 hours a day.

The Pavilion has a legacy post-Glastonbury as a giant bee hotel. Visitors during the festival are encouraged to use hand drills to create holes in the trunks to entice solitary bees and other insects to make BEAM their new home.

The internal space is fitted with a 7.2 f surround sound system that will fill the space 24hrs a day with a fluid and responsive soundscape based on live bee sounds with harmonious musical stems crafted and curated by Wolfgang, Tony Foster and Kev Bales who form the musical collective BE.

Contributions to the soundscape have been made by Spiritualized, Amiina (string section for Sigur Ros), Daniel Avery, Camille Christel, Kelly Lee Owens, Coldcut and Liela Moss (The Duke Spirit). Bees hum in the key of C and typically the ever evolving soundscape responds to this. Musicians performing at Glastonbury are encouraged to write and record musical stems with the live sound of the bees in a recording studio next to the sculpture which can be integrated into the soundscape.

New software has been written by the team which will sample real time sounds from adjacent Glastonbury stages which will trigger a harmonious live remix where the key and BPM can be constantly refreshed within the installation.

The internal space has integrated LED screens which circumnavigate the clearing expressing the activity of the bee hives in real time. The space at night is filled with 360 degree projections from 12 state of the art laser projectors animating the walls of the clearing with footage from the honey bee hives and co-projects of Wolfgang’s scientific collaborator Dr Martin Bencsik in both high definition film, MRI and thermal imagery.

The challenges facing the bee are universal; BEAM is an artwork that expresses the intrinsic and essential relationship between bee and human; it has brought together specialist collaborators in science, light, film, sound and projection mapping to create an immersive and multi-sensory experience. It promises to be one of the must-see and most talked about experiences of Glastonbury 2019.

Design Team:

Wolfgang Buttress

Scientist: Dr. Martin Bencsik
Soundscape: BE (Wolfgang Buttress, Kev Bales and Tony Foster)
Acoustic Engineers: Hoare Lea
3D Sound Programming: Outboard and Ableton
Custom 6K Projection Mapped Content and Installation, Projection Design & Video Technicians, Ai Server
Integration: Realtime Environment Systems
Film Design and Editing: Squint Opera, Battlecat Studios and Wolfgang Buttress Studio
Film Footage: Lock Up, Dr. Martin Bencsik, Wolfgang Buttress Studio

Photographer: Mark Hadden

BEAM at Glastonbury Festival 2019 by Wolfgang Buttress | Installations ×

Photographer: Mark Hadden

BEAM at Glastonbury Festival 2019 by Wolfgang Buttress | Installations ×

Photographer: Mark Hadden

BEAM at Glastonbury Festival 2019 by Wolfgang Buttress | Installations ×

Photographer: Mark Hadden

BEAM at Glastonbury Festival 2019 by Wolfgang Buttress | Installations ×