market buzz & Hopkins Duffield’s Hive (2.0)

The market revolves around conversation. Across vendors’ tables, in the lanes and at the café, the chatter builds through the morning. Are there still tomatoes? Is it possible to pickle squash?  Has the kale been hit by frost?  Local matters are absorbed with of local food.  The latest news, gossip and commentary is picked over and exchanged, strengthening the web of relations that is community.

wasp nest

For market buzz this morning, overheard fragments of conversation were transcribed on panels displayed on the courtyard’s chain-link gate. To see the posted words scroll down to the “market buzz transcript” subheading.


market buzz complements Hive (2.0) an interactive sound installation at NAISA, in room 252 of Artscape Wychwood Barns adjoining the market. In Hive 2.0 the two-artist collective of Hopkins Duffield pull-apart and re-mix metal, digital and electronic material and components to produce experiences that cross the boundaries of art, gaming, and collaborative performance.


Kyle Duffield and Daniele Hopkins met me for lunch this week to chat about their working process and the development of Hive (2.0).


Considering how you fuse technology and art are you guys seen as artist-nerds?

K: Sort of yes, we’re really in between communities.

D:  We’re in between the game community, the art community and music and event-based communities.

K: In terms of our connection to music, we have done sample- based work— take a bit of video and repeat it and add other layers… shot after shot arrange it as a music composition.

D:  We did Drone, a piece where we edited a lot of hive insect footage, mostly of wasps, and combined it with the sound of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles. We wanted a somewhat ominous quality.

K: That was the more surveillance aspect of the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) whereas in media now there is more of a focus on drones in bombings.

K: The U.S. has this sensor called ARGUS-IS, it’s existed for a few years. Within over a twenty mile area they can zoom to read license plates. Other drones can be used in “swarm formations,” where they are aware of each other so they can work in a formation because it’s a meshed network.


So they’re aerial surveillance units that have a sort of collective intelligence.

 K: Yes. That’s what our piece Drone related to.

D: With Hive we were still thinking of wasps and the sound aspect.  It was created at Lab Space Studios, as part of their Nomadic Noise Residency.

… Insects fascinate me, people don’t pay much attention to them but they have really complex structures of being that are very enlightening.  I’m also aesthetically attracted to the shapes and forms of insects.


Wasp nests differ according to the kind of wasp that makes it?

D: They’re made of different things.

K: It’s just like humans; you gather the materials from the immediate environment and then construct something out of it. Depending on where you’re located that’s going to change according to what materials you have access to.

D: I remember watching a paper wasp on a railing and watching it rip off little pieces of the railing and fly away.  They take little bits of material from anywhere and put it together.

d. Hive artists 3 crop

So this collecting relates also to how you create your work?

K: We hack electronics, we take video samples from things, we’ll record sound and manipulate it, we find stuff… in our everyday life that serves as inspiration.

Is there a place where you accumulate materials, do you have a studio?

K: We do have physical components but a lot of our stuff isn’t physical because a lot of our practice is computer based.

D: We also use a cloud space.

K: …and Google docs where we brainstorm and share things.

D: And we e-mail each other back and forth as we develop the ideas.


So with Hive 2.0 you pushed further the idea of the Drones as flying surveillance social “insects”?

K: Our piece Drone used insect and UAV sounds, they have similarities. That was the sound we originally intended to use in Hive (2.0). But it felt forced.  It got to the point where we were more interested in making something that would feel more like an organic form, in creating something more like an organism.

A creature?

D: Or a home.

K: This may sound strange but we’ll sometimes create something and we don’t know quite what it is because we mashed it together.

D: We had a pretty direct goal of wanting to have multiple channels of audio within a hive structure in which different channels could be heard through the speakers as a person moved around the hive. That was the technical goal and that remained consistent throughout, but there was an evolution in the design of the sound.

K: Because our stuff is digital and has a computer aspect, it’s capable of evolving with our exhibitions.

D: When we see crowds interacting with the work, it suggests new ways of evolving it. This is the second appearance of Hive, the first time we presented it without the interactive component even though that had been our ideal all along. It was just buzzing and it would not do so in relation to people’s proximity, it would just pulse in its own manner.

K: In this version, the hive has sonar sensors on each channel that send out a high-frequency sound, too high-pitched to be heard.

D: It catches the sound of itself bouncing off whatever is there and it can tell how far you are according to the time it takes to return.

K: There are six sensors, one for every channel, and that’s what calculates the proximity.


I guess that gives the user a certain physical awareness. After all you could “play” Hive (2.0) as an instrument by moving around it.

 K: I would say that’s one of our goals—creating awareness of one’s body in space.

D: We’re also interested in the idea of controlling things with the body.

K: Or even triggering things unknowingly with one’s presence, after all we’re being tracked in multiple ways all the time, and with sensors our bodies are controlling things like elevator doors. With Hive 2.0 it’s proximity.

D: Through our research we’ve become aware of these interfaces, the things underneath what we’re interacting with all the time. It’s enjoyable to be aware of them.

K: The design of spatial works with electronics and interfaces starts with a consideration of the location, situation and length of time.  That influences how you design the interactivity.  Ultimately, you want to keep it simple so that people will understand how they are affecting the system.

You want it to be open-ended?

K: You want people to explore it. A big part of it is unravelling it as an experience, playing with it.

… It could involve play where there’s a specific goal but it may just be about unravelling an experience and understanding the limits of the system, developing your relationship with the work.


Hive (2.0) is on view at Artscape Wychwood Barns

NAISA Space, 601 Christie Street #252

October 4, 2014 to November 1, 2014
Fridays 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm – Saturdays 10:00 am to 3:00 pm – Sundays 10:00 am to 3:00 p.m.    FREE

market buzz transcript

If you go there for a beer you won’t be disappointed. … Would you like leafy or a Romaine? … Between our families there has been two Schnauzers. …  Watch out! It’s heavy. … My husband was walking down the street and he sees those in some yards, and he says, “Why can’t we get that?” … No food is worth that much. … You know that for $2,000 you can buy an enormous piece of fish that serves many restaurants. … You take the bottom of the white bit here… and you let me know how it goes. If you were to make a soup or a chili they would absorb subtle flavours like zucchini. … Not that you should feel obligated to go. … Well, I got them a gift. I went to a place on Queen and got them… you can use it indoors or outdoors… I was going to get potatoes, but what I really want is new potatoes… I’ve gotten smarter; I used to carry all that stuff in a bag… Do you need these recycled boxes? No, I don’t. Thank you.  … This is a spicy salad mix, it’s not super spicy. … I thought that was mustard. … No, that’s rapini. … We were all running together, just putting one foot in front of the other. It was fun. … New hair cut? Nice! …  Do you have sandy soil? No, I have heavy clay. Spinach grows too close. You’re like, “Come on spinach, come on spinach.” And then it bolts. … Look at that cauliflower!  Yes, it’s been a good year for them. Do you grow them under row cover? No, we transplant them. You can manage to avoid worms? Well, if they’re going to get in there, they’re going to get in there. … The white ones are sweeter. I have small or large. … No rain yet eh? Not yet! … You want a muffin? … We grow the wheat in Guelph and make the pasta on Thursday and Friday. How long does it stay good for? It keeps ten days in the fridge, six weeks in the freezer. You can mix and match, sure. … Sit! Sit! … I need to get coffee. … We have gluten-free loaves and gluten-free cookies. We usually have gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, but not this Saturday. … That’s our Gamay. … Everything you bottle is from your estate?  Except for the Riesling. And you guys don’t grow Pinot either. You can grow Tempranilla. … Next week everything’s inside buddy so enjoy it while you can. … These are heirloom Russets, four dollars per quart. Roasted or baked, the skin is delicious. … I can it “the soup bag,” it includes two Collards and two Kale. They’re on the ground right now because I don’t have cold storage. … We have two kinds of sauerkraut, kimchee and all kinds of pickles. Ginger beer… What are you pickling? Golden Beets, vinegar wine, no fermentation. Fermenting beets can be a challenge. … Making pizza? Yes, this is our last Saturday until Spring. It will be ready in about then minutes. … I’m having an art show at Gallery 1313 this Thursday. … I like this vibe here. … I’m good with a lot of heat that then goes away, not the stuff that stays. … He’s right about the garlic… Oh, it’s indoors in the winter. …  People laugh, I say “Mother Earth is crying. It’s winter, the heat is on but the windows are open!” … I just told Liz that I finished and installed the 1812 Monument on Parliament Hill.  … Last time I saw your dad I pegged him at 60. How old was your dad? He was 72. He was very young at heart. That’s why kids would relate so well to him. There was no barrier. Oh man…  How are your kids? Oh, they’re good. They’re around, look for a double stroller. … We always get mushrooms here. They’re a really good deal. … You weren’t here last week. I was sick.  Yeah, we missed you.  Next week we’ll be inside. We will have only a six foot table, not as much variety.  … This cheese is from an Amish dairy in Aylmer. They’re a bit controversial in their community because they use electronic media for their publicity…  They would have endless meetings where they had endless numbers of people. It worked out well but it was a hell of a month. By the last two meetings I was thinking, “This is not my life.” So I ran away to the Art Barn. I had a beer and you know what beer does to me when I’m tired… by the last two poems I was begging myself not to fall asleep…  We’re telling stories here in the Story Tent… except that she’s also dividing threads. … She’s been listening-in on conversations and grabbing snippets and printing them on the board. … Good morning, do you have a story to tell today? Not really, I’m usually a listener. They ask me, “Have you heard this one before?” And I say, “ I need to hear it again.” Do you want to hear a true story or a made-up story? … Any story… The Bear in the Yurt, that’s about being eaten by a bear in a yurt. It really happened. … I feel like you… since we were little… Michael T. had just moved into my street. He just had his first child two weeks ago. We should have a reunion. I can definitely handle that. Where are you living now? We’re on Manning just south of Harbord. I used to be on Clinton. … It was hard-going back there… we had been locked up. … The grieving together was really important. … Later, I arrived in my office and immediately hugged my security guard. … I had received an e-mail saying, “You’re coming into a horrible situation.” … When Ken Vickers came into the House I completely burst into tears. It was written all over his face. … This was a mental health issue as much as anything else. The fact that he had seen his mother for the first time in five years… How was he able to strike so quickly? He was just really lucky. … I arrived at my office on Yonge street and the security guy is prescribing security camera here and an alarm button there…  This is a salad mix with Kale, Chard and Asian Greens. Five dollars. This is pumpkin bread made with pumpkin squash puree and pumpkin seeds… Is Arthur still at the drop-in sessions?  … Why is the rice pink? Beets, I use beets… Son hechos con arroz negro para los Vegetarianos…  The cherry one is the safer bet, some kids don’t like the blueberry-lavender. … Momos, that’s what you were eating the last time I saw you. Do you totally love those? Are they not just awesome?   Would you like to try some cheese? Can you eat cow’s milk? I can eat anything. I’ve got two Goudas, one goat and one sheep. Which is stronger? It depends on what you mean by “strong”. I would recommend the goat. This is tangy while this is nutty and sweet.  … Many people are voting for Tory just to block Ford. This is the first time I’m voting strategically. I’m voting for Olivia. … I voted for Smitherman last time. … It’s getting cold people, I have to move.

In The Stop’s courtyard Sheltered Garden see Audio Bee Booth (prototype 2010) by Sarah Peebles with wood burnings by Chris Bennett.  A project by Resonating Bodies.

Wychwood Barns Park Stop bee listening station Wychwood Barns Park Stop bee listening station w. women


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