The exhibition Bee Monitoring Devices and Curious Observations is the starting point for the presentation on the research and artistic work of AnneMarie Maes and the Brussels Urban Bee Lab at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona. The work of AnneMarie Maes, media artist and beekeeper, is already since more than six years based on a rigorous research into bees. AnneMarie Maes set up the Brussels Urban Bee Lab in 2009 and this artistic laboratory installed several instrumented beehives on garden roofs in the centre of Brussels. The artists and technicians of Brussels Urban Bee Lab designed sophisticated equipment to monitor and measure the bee colonies, process the data and disseminate these via streaming.
This research so far instigated a series of installations, objects, graphic works, sound works and workshops that were shown in galleries, festivals and public spaces. It induced an intense interaction with scientists and technologists, partly to build and install the measuring equipment but also to investigate the reasons for the urgent problem of bee colonies starting to die out in all industrialised countries.
A laboratory on the open fields
A research vehicle, a living sculpture
A storytelling machine
producing a narrative that slowly reveals itself
Through sensors, processors, displays
I connect myself to this organic supermachine
I watch the steps of the bees, deconstruct their behaviour I monitor their sounds and amplify them
My algorithms recognise patterns, measure their dances. I translate their narrative of absurd repetition
I track what they do at night
They are architects of an ever expanding city
They are threatened with extinction.
They are a divine monarchy, a socialist republic
Collectivism not individualism.