Honey Point

Honey Point: the point where the zany, strange, barbaric idea suddenly has a tinge of common sense…and then becomes the most sensible idea. And then it spreads.

Joseph Beuys installed a Honeypump in the Workplace at Documenta 6 in Kassel, Germany, 1977.

This pump, two tons of honey running through plastic tubing, was powered by two ship’s engines lubricated with 200 pounds of butter. It was installed in a central staircase – empty space, “useless space” – near a room where conferences were held. Look at the man among the materials and engineering, hunkering down into the industrial guts of a machine he believed in, financed, and built to make a point.

What point? Ideas form a kind of social sculpture that runs through the spaces where we work. It was about the energy, not the materials.

I think of this sculpture when I hear someone call out to the “hive mind” of Twitter. Although hive mind can connote a kind of unexamined collective consciousness or groupthink, I like to think of each tweet as a tube, some of them short, some of them empty…some of them turning into Honeypumps.

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