For the past six months Roland Carline has been spending time with members of Meet Me at The Albany, an all-day arts club for the over 60s, as well as working with regular collaborator and choreographer, Rachel Gildea. Meet Me’s long term collaborators The Rachel Macmillan Nursery are also participating in this project. Together they have developed The Secret Life of Bees, a costumed performance with a choral component by Meet Me members, a dance piece by the nursery children and narration by musician Sacha Thomas. Carline’s practice is a result of his years spent working in social work and community settings. His approach places his collaborators at the centre of the work and the end result is therefore shaped and changed by the people involved, subverting expectations of the artist as the sole author and director. A thick vein of humour and absurdity results from Carline’s commitment to joyful amateurism over a polished finished piece and The Secret Life of Bees is as much about enabling the participants to enjoy the creative process as about the final performance, or bees. The resulting work toys with the audience’s expectations of a neatly directed piece and confronts questions of ownership, voyeurism and instrumentalisation within participatory projects.
Roland Carline has a BA (Hons) from Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, 2001-2003 and graduated from the RA Schools in 2018. He makes interdisciplinary work individually and collectively that covers most media, including painting, sculpture, film and performance.
The Secret Life of Bees is a Deptford X commission delivered in partnership with Meet Me at The Albany and Goldsmiths CCA.