Trees A Crowd


Wolfgang Buttress and Dr Martin Bencsik: Hive minds waxing lyrical

Season 1, Ep. 11

Wolfgang Buttress is an award-winning artist who creates multi-sensory artworks that draw inspiration from our evolving relationship with nature, and Dr Martin Bencsik is an associate professor in the School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University. Together they have become a unique creative force! Here, talking to David, they discuss their initial collaboration, HIVE. At 17 metres tall and now based at Kew Gardens, the sculpture represents the intrinsic relationship between bees, humans and our shared landscape. Their most recent collaboration, BEAM, which made its debut at Glastonbury Festival 2019, is co-produced with Greenpeace, and converts signals from a nearby bee colony and ambient sounds from the surrounding concert stages into light and sound effects to provide an ever-changing soundscape – and a truly immersive experience. If that isn’t enough, they recall when they filled Martin’s wife’s cello with bees... as one does!

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Dr Helen Pheby: Sculpture for sheep, and rhubarb trains; the place ‘Extraordinary’ can happen

Season 2, Ep. 7
Dr Helen Pheby is the head of curatorial programmes at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Set in 500 acres of historic parkland, the park has provided a “gallery without walls” for artists such as Elisabeth Frink, Auguste Rodin, Giuseppe Penone, and local legends such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Helen has collaborated on projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, South Africa, India, and even Barnsley! Born in the so-called ‘rhubarb triangle’, Helen reminisces over “the rhubarb express”, a train which ran from her village in Yorkshire to London, and muses over how magical it was being able to see the contrast between rural and urban environments. In this insightful conversation, Helen explains how she believes creativity and art is a human right, how the YSP was visited by Henry VIII, and how another Henry, Henry Moore, believed it was the job of artists to show people the natural world and subsequently designed artwork for sheep. She explains how the Sculpture Park aims to be inclusive, free from the barriers of social standing, wealth and a gender imbalance that art is often associated with. Subsequently, the YSP is now home to brain-controlled helicopters, women on horseback steeplechasing through the landscapes of the First World War, and all of this second to the migratory routes of the Great Crested Newt. In her own words: “We are places the extraordinary can happen.” For more information on this podcast, including David's thoughts following this interview, head to: