Baroque Beekeeping arrived after reading The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque (1993) by Gilles Deleuze. I thought of all the impossible things it implied, things that those two words together brought to mind: was it a Baroque era beekeeper wearing a beekeeping suit over an ornate Baroque dress? Beehives shaped like a Baroque cathedral? Was it a metaphor about Baroque era colonial powers and the relationship between bees and humans in the process of cultivating beehives? 

I began to think of it as a container for all the things it brought to mind, as though it were a container for all the things that may exist but don’t have a name yet.

First, I used it as the title of a curated video art platform for the 2nd Addis Ababa Video Art Festival in 2018. Then, I used it as the premise of an online zine by the same title that featured interviews with video artists, focusing on those working outside of Europe. It still may be used for all these things, but as fitting the undisclosed title, the content will keep shifting with the times.  

I recently returned to another inspiration from the title: how Deleuze’ analysis on Liebniz’ descriptions of Baroque Architecture reminded me of the model of the houses in an astrology chart, especially how the deeper you looked at the complex nodes of meanings between signs, houses, aspects, and type of chart, it became a mirror of how infinitely deep and complex a person can be. A house (a physical house or an astrology chart house) can also be seen as a connective hive made up of nodes that include the physical bodies of the human, the earth, and the outer planets, as a production of subjectivity announcing that the inside is nothing more than a fold of the outside. Deleuze’s fold has many modalities: the fold of our material bodies, the fold of time and memory: subjectivity, even, is a topology of these different folds.

Background: When I was in the first grade, I brought a sun sign book by Linda Goodman to my class and wrote down the birthdays of my classmates in the back of the book. The teacher told me not to bring it back because it was inappropriate. Either because of the sexuality descriptions or because it was satanic literature in the Bible Belt region where I grew up, I’ll never know for sure. Nevertheless, the seed was planted for astrology as an act of defiance against systems that obstruct self-awareness and alternative ways of knowing.

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Excerpts from The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque (1993) by Gilles Deleuze that I find connect to my understanding of the structure of astrology:

“…the whole world is only a virtuality that currently exists only in the folds of the soul which convey it, the soul implementing inner pleats through which it endows itself with a representation of the enclosed world” (23).

“As we have seen, {the fold} moves not only between essences and existences. It surely billows between the body and the soul, but already between the inorganic and the organic in the sense of bodies, and still between the ‘species’ of monads in the sense of souls. It is an extremely sinuous fold, a zigzag, a primal tie that cannot be located.” (119-20)

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Erin studied Environmental Humanities at Sterling College, Vermont (BA, 2011), Icelandic and Art History at the University of Iceland (MA, 2016) and Religion at the University of Amsterdam (MA, 2019). She is currently studying with Nightlight Astrology.