During the past three years, Okno has been exploring the potential of sensor-equipped beehives. Making use of innovatory technologies, we are studying bees as biomarkers providing information about the ecosystem they are part of. The collected data are stored in online databases, mapping the urban landscape and raising awareness of this shared living environment, and are used for the creation of ecological works of art. Earlier this month, Annemie Maes from Okno was organising a bee monitoring workshop at Valldaura Self Sufficient Lab in Barcelona. On 18 and 19 April, the collaborators in the research on sensor-enriched beehive design are meeting at the Okno premises for some brainstorming and working sessions on new and artistic approaches to sustainable, non-intrusive bee monitoring. In which ways can new media contribute to ecology and vice versa?

Dancing with the bee. But how do they do it? Let’s watch it in the hives first!
A workshop about how to update the okno bee monitoring system. (april 18/19 2013)

Mid-april we organise a two-day workshop at Okno where all main actors involved in the Intelligent Beehives project are invited. Jakub Hybler (IIM Praha), Peter Hanappe and Michka Mélo (Sony CSL Paris), John Rees (for FabLab Barcelona), Guy Van Belle and Annemie Maes (for Okno Brussels. The workshop has been fascinating and inspiring in many respects. There was a lot of co-intelligence at work, as well as a group of people who bring together backgrounds in abstract sciences and technology who have all realised that doing things with their hands is an essential aspect of their work too. John deciding he wants to make things; Jakub talking about his grandfathers hand-made tools and how he feels about using them, Michka’s biomimicry and his love for his birthplace, Peter and his community garden project, the bees Annemie and Guy are nurturing etc. Everyone prompted a host of thoughts. There is something happening here that shows us a way forward, models for the future, links between the arts, technology and ecology.