Biotopia is an exhibition that plunges us into the universe of the living beings that populate our planet. The exhibition brings together artists and researchers who question the central position of humans in the world. Biotopia proposes a shifted point of view, immersing ourselves in the heart of non-human societies and opening ourselves up to the diversity of ways of being.
Anne Marie Maes’ Transparent Beehive is a sculpture in the form of an observation beehive. The artist staged a form of live action by non-human actors, namely a colony of Honey Bees. The bees have access to the outside world through a glass tube. The inside of the hive is structured like a book. Each of the 12 frames is enhanced with contact microphones which pick up the vibrations in the hive. The sonification creates a soundtrack for the performance of the bee colony.
‘Since 2009, I am observing the behaviour of honey bees with non-intrusive technology and bio-technology. I see the bees as cyborgs, beings with both organic and biomechatronic body parts. Their bodies have a very strong relationship to technology, and at the same time a very strong relationship to the Earth. They also represent metamorphosis. They bring together the human and the non-human, the organic and the technological, freedom and structure, history and myth, nature and culture in unexpected ways.
Honey bees introduced me to complex new relationships with nature, suggesting new ways to coexist with other species and with the environment. They made me realise we should go beyond anthropocentrism. We should celebrate a new communion with the non-human and with the Earth. Cultivate a sense of kinship between species, between the organic and the inorganic, between the animate and the inanimate. They thaught me to reconnect our devided relation with nature and with our own bodies.’
This approach made emerge affinities between different artistic methods and practices, that in turn were creating new layers of meaning and generating new narratives that are built around forms of symbiosis, solidarity and sisterhood.’
Bees as architects (filmed in the Transparent Beehive)