Bee Agency – lecture at the Uni.Utrecht, dep. History of Art, Science and Technology (20.12.2023)

Ecologies of Art: Ways of Making, Conserving, and Knowing. More specifically, this lecture will focus on ‘Conservation, Art/Nature, and Insects’ and will relate different perspectives. There will be a deeper look at the making process as well as conservation issues. In an era where anthropocentrism defines more than ever the relationship we as humans build with nature, shifting the centre of attention can become a revolutionary act. Bee Agency is a long-term project on the edge of art, science and biotechnology. With the assistance of designers and scientists, Anne Marie Maes developes since more than a decade custom made beehives that can be seen as living sculptures. Her rooftop apiary is a place where interaction between humans & non-humans occurs. This field laboratory forms the basis for a participative open framework research where scientists and artists observe the pollinators as bio-indicators. They study their distributed intelligence, observe their nest building capacities and learn from their relation to/with urban foraging fields.



Artworks that will be discussed:
– Transparent Beehive
– Sound Beehive
– The Intelligent Beehive
– the Intelligent Guerrilla Beehive
– Elbe Bienen
Related bee projects/installations/objects:
– Pollen Database
– l’Origine du Monde
– The Smell of the Hive
– Moebius Ring
– Golden Beehive
– Alien Intelligence
– 365 days
– Variation Games
– Alchimia Nova
– Transparent Beehive 3 channel video-installation

Anne Marie Maes is a multidisciplinary artist, beekeeper and herbalist. She lives and works in Brussels. Her practice combines art and science with a particular interest in biotechnology, ecosystems and alchemical processes. She works with a range of biological, digital and traditional media, including living organisms. On the roof of her studio in Brussels, she has created an outdoor laboratory and experimental garden where she studies symbiotic organisms and the processes nature uses to create form. Her long-term projects “Connected Open Greens”, “Bee Agency” and “Laboratory for Form and Matter” provide a framework that has inspired a wide range of artworks, all at the intersection of art and ecology. For many of her projects she uses DIY bio-technology that she develops and integrates in collaboration with fab labs and university research labs. She focuses hereby on the process, often generating an art that creates itself.