This morning we knew we were going to meet, but with our schedules being busy lately, the time and place weren’t set in stone. So I headed to work down the coast and told Eric to call me when he was ready, and wherever I was when he called, I would pull into the nearest Starbucks and wait for him. I received his call as I was heading out of Seal Beach, and knew that the next Starbucks was in Sunset Beach where we did our very first minute:72. So I headed into Sunset Beach and waited – but only for a couple minutes because he was just right behind me.
Until now, we had done pretty good finding a new location each time we met – something we try to keep different so that we would have to work within different environments. But today we both didn’t have much time and we knew we wanted to get in another 72 minutes, so we had to revisit a previous location to fit it in our schedules.
The word today was “speaker”. It seems that nouns are a little harder to explore since they are pretty definite in their meaning. A loudspeaker. A person who speaks formally.
Originally I had thought that revisiting a location would give us an advantage since we already had been there and had scouted what was around, but because the inspiration word (speaker) was so different from last time (inventing) it turned out that we still found ourselves stumped at first. The only speaker nearby was an outdoor speaker on the Starbucks that wasn’t anything special. So we decided to walk and scout again with the word “speaker” in our minds.
We were coming up empty handed. There were no other speakers to be found – no audio speakers and nobody on their soapbox. As we talked, we found that our conversation turned from what a speaker is to what a speaker does. What is the purpose of one? What around us can show a message being projected, but then also being received by another? It seemed to get harder and harder as all we had to look at were weathered beach houses, cars cruising past us and the occasional passerby staring at us and wondering what were up to.
As we walked, we came across an out-of-place patch of flowers on the side of a parking lot. Within this patch there were tiny flowers and a few bees gathering their pollen. As we witnessed that, I told Eric about a story I heard on NPR the previous week (read or listen to it here) where scientists just found out that bees are not only drawn to the shapes and colors of flowers, but they also can sense an electric charge that they give off and are drawn to. As I told him this story, we both looked at the flowers and noticed their speaker-like shape and the way they spoke to the bee in their own way and how the bee responded to them.
We instantly knew this illustrated our concept, so now we had to capture that. I asked Eric if he could capture a close-up of a bee coming in to a flower. Eric, as always, was game and said that he never tried that before. So for the next 15 minutes, which was all the time that was left, he followed bees around trying to anticipate their next move. It turned out harder than we thought since focus, unpredictable flight paths and how close he was to the bee made capturing the right image very difficult within such a short amount of time.
Many photos were captured within that last 15 minutes. After going through all the photos, there was one image that stood out and spoke to us. One lone plant proclaiming its message through its trumpet-like flower as loud and brilliantly as it could and one bee listening to that message and responding by coming in to take it up on its call.