2016 – SUMMERSCHOOL ON CREATIVITY – workshop + exhibition Como

The atelier is set up as an Innovation Lab where new organic materials -bioplastics- will be studied and fabricated. Practical use of these vegetal and bacterially grown materials will be discussed on the basis of the case study the Guerilla Beehive. The atelier is directed by Anne Marie Maes, artist, beekeeper and herbalist.

The first phase of the atelier will focus on working with raw materials and recipes to create thin membranes and surfaces. In a second part, we will investigate how these materials can be supplemented through embedded electronics. An important part of the workshop will also be to think about the practical applications and implications of these bio-plastics or second skins. It is in this part that we will discuss the case study the Guerilla Beehive, and develop speculative future scenarios to save the disappearing honey bees.

The Guerilla Beehive is a project on the edge between art and science, focusing on issues of sustainability, more specifically the survival of the honeybee species. It is using new materials and new digital fabrication technologies, more specifically, sustainable bio-plastics.The Guerilla Beehive is a radically new beehive that can be placed in any kind of environment, including urban environments, offering a shelter to swarming bee colonies. The beehive is not designed for commercial honey exploitation, but it is intended to support pollination and biodiversity by the bees. Moreover, the beehive is enhanced with non- intrusive technology to monitor the wellbeing of the colony and it can also be used as a sensing device to measure the ecological status of the environment. The project evokes the pressing issue why there is at the moment widespread colony collapse, not using scientific methods but using in order to raise public awareness and research drastically new materials and observation methods.


This video, with the case study ‘Sensorial Skin for an Intelligent Guerilla Beehive’ is an introduction to the Innovation Lab on Biomaterials, as part of the Summerschool on Creativity and Evolution – Como, Italy, September 2016.

Results of the innovation lab on bioplastics:

Anne Marie Maes is an artist and a researcher. Her work incorporates sculpture, photography, video, installation and public participation. She creates projects that stimulate the development of a more sustainable world. Her research practice combines art and science with a strong interest for DIY technologies. Her installations and long term projects – such as the Transparent Beehive, Urban Corridors or the Politics of Change – use a range of biological, digital and traditional media, including live organisms. She makes use of technological mediation to search for new forms of communication with the natural world, to make the invisible visible.
Anne Marie Maes is the founding director of the Urban Bee Lab and has for decades been a recognized leader pioneering art-science projects in Belgium, using highly original ways to bring out hidden structures in nature by constructing original technological methods to probe the living world and by translating that in artistic creations through sonification, visualization, sculptures, large-scale long-term installations, workshops, lectures and books.
She has a strong international profile, having exhibited (amongst others) at Bozar in Brussels, Koç University Gallery in Istanbul, Borges Center in Buenos Aires, Bozar in Brussels, Arsenals Museum in Riga, Skolska Gallery in Prague, the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, the Designmuseum in Mons and the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin.