Leah Willemin, Srishti Johari, Julie Byers

Though small in size, insects are crucial to the functioning of larger ecosystems. But a series of recent studies suggest that in the last quarter-century, insect populations have suffered. Honeybee populations are included in this decline.

Our project references a phenomenon in which bees forage from industrial food byproduct, instead of natural nectar. They return to their hives with processed sugars such as maraschino cherry and M&M sugars, creating brilliantly colorful honey. However, eating this industrial waste makes the bees less able to fight off toxic ingredients found in pesticides, leading to deaths. Though the honey produced from industrial waste is formally beautiful and represents the resilience of bee populations, it carries the tension of alarming truth: the scarcity of bee food sources and a broader threat to insect populations.

This project uses the rich colors and scent of melted hard candy juxtaposed against industrial materials to convey and celebrate the mixing of industrial and organic materials. Like colorful honey, the candy presents familiar colors and scents within a strange context. As time passes, the candy will slowly melt, evoking the hidden loss of insect biomass.