It’s impossible to say who the man we meet in Frode&Marcus photo novel ›Beekeeper‹ actually is. This is one of many enigmas that the novel won’t give away. In all its ambiguity this carefully constructed tale of isolation, disorder and new becomings asks us to descend into the deepest layers of our subconscious.
Thus, any possible explanation as to the identity of the story’s anti-hero is perpetually kept on hold. He could be part of a shady military experiment gone wrong or an outcast from a strange tribe of woodsmen. And if this is an interior journey through a muddled mind that we’ve embarked on, well it’s very hard to say, since the only thing to go on is the visual manifestations of the beekeeper’s state of mind.
Despite the omnipresence of an almost romantic sunlight reminiscent of Aleksandr Sukorov’s hallucinatory 1987 film ›Days of Eclipse‹, ›Beekeeper‹ is touched by an undercurrent of catastrophe that gradually contaminates everything. Most of all, it appears to have taken hold of the man’s mind. The secret of bees seems to have given his existence an unclear purpose in this beautiful but isolated sun-tinged universe.
And this is crucial. Because in the end the big question raised here is existential. Every human being strives to establish some purpose in life. But what if purpose becomes an obsession that overtakes life? Determined to crack whatever the code of bees may be, the anti-hero of ›Beekeeper‹ leaves chaos in his wake.
The allure of the highly organized life of bees is, in a sense, understandable. Bees serve a greater purpose that the beekeeper seems to lack. They live, they play their part in reproduction with predictable monotony, they die. Clean and simple. The beekeeper, on the other hand, is an incarnation of the darkest forces of human nature. He is fallible, confused and lonely. He can never be sure that he has found his nirvana. In the end, to paraphrase Samuel Beckett, he can at the most hope to fail better the next time he tries to solve the mystery of the bees.