Tag Archives: city bee monitoring


name: the Transparent Beehive Cabinet, book, year start: 2013, year end: 2013, techniques: book, print on demand

The Transparent Beehive Notebook gives an overview of the Transparent Beehive Project. It describes in words and images the intense process of Bee Monitoring and the close collaboration with numerous colleague artists, scientists, engineers and beekeepers. The relation bees and flowers is an evident one and is never far away in this notebook. In an artistic way and starting from hands on experiences as a beekeeper, I give an account of the building of monitoring systems and their implementation in the beehives at the open field labs. Working with the collected open source data is explained, and most important: the disclosure to a public in a set of transdisciplinary art forms: photographs, films, sculptures and the Bee Archive.
A bee colony is a sophisticated instrument, the super organism demonstrates a feat of collaboration through communication. Working with honeybees is absolutely fascinating and the job they do for the sake of mankind is certainly underevaluated. It is a shame that they go through such difficult times. I will continue to support them where I can.

Transparent Beehive Notebook – click to start the download

This notebook gives background info on the bee monitoring project. Scientific experiments, artistic drawings, articles, texts, artistic impressions , … etc. By clicking on the image, you can download the Transparent Beehive Notebook, published in the context of the Scientific Inquiries exhibition in Istanbul, november 2013. If you are intrested in a hard copy of the book, you can contact annemarie at at at annemariemaes dot net.

The Transparent Beehive Notebook was presented
– as part of the Foraging Fields installation in the exhibition FIELDS, Riga – Latvia, from 15 may 2014 to august 4 2014.
– as part of the Scientific Inquiries exhibition in Istanbul at Koç University, from 7 november to 7 december 2013.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

BEES, WEBCAM 365 DAYS – timelapse video installation 11:35:00

name: bees – webcam 365 days, year start: 2011-may, year end: 2012-april, techniques: honey bee colony, 2 webcams, 2 temperature sensors, 1 humidity sensor, 1 Co2 sensor, 1 combined temperature/humidity sensor outside

The Bee Monitoring project probes deeply within a network of ICT-enhanced beehives. Between may 2011 and april 2012, a complete cycle, from the awakening till the hibernation of the bee population, was recorded in a continuous stream of pictures, sound and sensor data. All this information is readily available online for beekeepers, scientists and other artists, offering an opportunity to study the bees as bio-indicators.

Two webcams were placed into the beehive, and the bee colony’s action were monitored and registered from the very moment that the swarm arrived into the beehive. We were filming the actions in real time, during 365 days, spring, summer, fall and winter. All images have a timestamp.
The webcams registered at 15 fps and the images were stored on the server, but also streamed in realtime. The final product is a video were the 365 days are compressed into 12 hours.
The same time, sensor data were recorded inside and outside of the beehive. Inside the values of temperature, humidity and Co2 were registered, outside the temperature and humidity values were noted.

The Bee Laboratory displays the artistic research on one year of monitoring -/outside- of the hive of a city bee colony. Beekeepers, scientists and artists were collaborating to collect data on the colonies’ behaviour to its urban surroundings.
The monitoring project is located in the open air laboratoria of our urban rooftop gardens. It offers the opportunity to study the bee colonies as bio-indicators. In this documentary installation we give a research survey of the timeslice may 211 – april 2012 in data, sound and images.

The ‘Webcam 365 days’ video was presented
– as part of the Foraging Fields installation in the exhibition FIELDS, Riga – Latvia, from 15 may 2014 to august 4 2014 – the Peephole (dancing bees).
– as part of the Scientific Inquiries exhibition in Istanbul at Koç University, from 7 november to 7 december 2013.

BEES, WEBCAM 24hours and BEES, TRAIL – timelapse video installation

name: bees – webcam 365 days, year start: 2011-may, year end: 2012-april, techniques: honey bee colony, 2 webcams, 2 temperature sensors, 1 humidity sensor, 1 Co2 sensor, 1 combined temperature/humidity sensor outside

The videos bees-webcam 24hours and bees-trail are generally presented in a 3 channel video installation together with the bees-webcam 365days video. All 3 videos give an artistic survey of working with an observation beehive. The beehive is enhanced with different sensors and with 2 webcams inside.
The video bee-trail renders the timelapse in the beehive by showing the trail of honeybees over a combframe. The moment that the hive is opened and that the sunlight gets in, we see an explosion of activity as all bees move together towards the light source.
In the video bees-webcam 24hours a timeslice of 24 hours -starting at 00:00 midnight and ending at 23:59 midnight the next day- is compressed into a video of 5 hours. We see the bees running throug the transparent tube which is connecting the hive to the outside world. The bee-activity increases with the sunlight and is at its pinnacle at noon. After 3pm the activity slowly decreases to stop completely with the falling of the night.

If the videos take too long to load, or if there is an unstable internet connection, you can watch the videos in the video database pandora.
Bees 24 hours, timelapse video
Bee Trail explosion, timelapse video

bees – webcam 24hours
bees – trail explosion

The ‘webcam 24 hours’ and ‘The Trail’ videos were presented
– as part of the Scientific Inquiries exhibition in Istanbul at Koç University, from 7 november to 7 december 2013.
– as part of the Time Inventors’ Kabinet [TIK] festival at OKNO in Brussels, april 2012


BEES, MONITORING – 3 channel video installation

name: the Transparent Beehive videos, year start: 2012-may, year end: 2013-april, techniques: honey bee colony, 2 webcams, 2 temperature sensors, 1 humidity sensor, 1 Co2 sensor, 1 combined temperature/humidity sensor outside

3 channel video installation representing the monitoring of the Transparent Beehive from beginning of may 2012 to the end of april 2013. The Transparent Beehive was set up in the Drying Room, the laboratory connecting to the okno rooftop garden in the center of Brussels. The fragments in the videos were filmed over the time of the season on regular intervals. Click the images to play the 3 videos together. Continue reading


The Warré-model is by definition a hive-model for sustainable beekeeping, as the bee colony can develop at its own pace instead of being controlled by the beekeeper (nadiring the boxes, no queen excluders, ‘optimal’ temperature regulation). The Warré model is not the ‘best commercial model’ concerning the amount of honey production, but it is sustainable as it does not stress the bees with ‘overproduction’ (honey taken away by the beekeeper). The hives in the network are by preference on different locations, so that they can give us information on the bee colonies at these different locations (city, rural, …) and eco-information on the environment they are set in. Goal is to compare the collected data sets of these locations, as well as the wellbeing and behaviour of the bee colonies.
For now, we have basic sensors (t° in/out, humidity) in a hive Barcelona, and in several hives in Brussels, on different locations:
⇒ we can send the sensor data of these 3 hives to the http://opensensordata.net/ database that Peter has set up
⇒ on the t° data values we should do a computational correction, as the t° sensors are located only on 1 spot in the hive, and the values they give are thus very influenced by the outside t° values.

To have a better read-out of the t° in the hives, we are developing the 3D t° sensing system with the thermistors. If this works out, it should provide us with the correct t° values in the hive (box), as well as with the behaviour (movement) of the bees inside of this monitored box.
The new 3D system should give a detailed read out, but it is also very complex and time consuming to install. Every box has 8 frames x 8 thermistors, this makes 64 thermistors per hive-box to be soldered/attached to the frames, + connected to the PCB board. Every box has its own PCB board. Knowing that 1 (Warré) hive has an average setup of 4 boxes, we can calculate that it will be a huge amount of work to monitor the t° in 3D in the hive with this system.

We are finalising the first ‘bee-box and’ (3D temperature sensing) and we’ll install it in the Brussels (so-on) Warré hive and connect it to the internet to have a daily monitoring, as well on line (data values and 3D visualisation) as physically (control the hive regularly). Once we know that the 3D thermistor t° system is working as we expected, we can extend it to the other hives. Therefore we should make a subcontracting working plan, as there is a lot of physical work connected to it and most of us don’t have the time to do it. We should monitor the bees like this for a season, at least through winter till next spring’s development, and work with the data and see how correct they are. While monitoring the system like this for a while, with the findings and results, we should work on a simplification of the monitoring model so that we can adapt the monitoring to later (organic) models of intelligent beehives.

bee monitoring research

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Observations from the enhanced beehive in the okno garden.
On may 4th, 2011, we moved a swarm into this hive, and from than on we are filming with 2 webcams the behaviour of the city honeybees. This research (15 frames a second, from 4/5/2011 till now) gives us a lot of terrabytes of bee-monitoring. We’ll work out some bio-artistic projects with it over time.

brussels slowfood: from rooftop garden to the table!

A local market at the start of the Brussels slowfood week, 18-25 september. We were present at the Vlaamse Steenweg – rue de Flandre, with our OpenGreens city honey. The people loved to ‘taste their neighborhood’! The concept of the Connected OpenGreens was explained and we got many enthousiast reactions as well as late subscription for the Open Garden visit next weekend.

sculptural bees

Working together with my bees to create natural sculptures. In the fablab in Ghent I collected some nice found material which I adapted to the needs of the bees and the hives. It’s a first try – i’ve put 2 adjusted frames in one of my ‘split-off’ colonies from this year. I hope they’re yet strong enough to build into the strange materials. First check after 2 weeks, when back from Greece.

autonomous robots for okno’s OpenGreen

An experimental and playful hands-on workshop by Ralf Schreiber and Christian Faubel.

…it is a lot of fun to build your own robotic creature. As soon as the circuit starts working the robots begin to sing and jerk – there is always a great Hello.
It’s a magic moment and the constructor’s pride is often mixed with a little fear, that continuing soldering could possibly damage the just created little robot.
Time and again it is amazing to see, that such a wimpy, handcrafted creature can arouse empathy, can even activate a certain care in the builder…. (rs)

The most simple way to create and build “life like” machines or robots is by the use of analogue oscillator circuits. Oscillations can be feed-backed and thus simple interactions will happen and simple neuronal networks behavior can be simulated.
In this workshop we will build different kinds of machines. In combination with tiny motors and loudspeakers (piezos) they will generate smallest movements and soft sounds. All these machines are based on extreme low energetic circuits designs and get powered by the electric energy from tiny solar-panels or wimpy diy batteries.
All the finished machines can be exposed / set free in the garden. Furthermore some “creatures” can be connected or integrated to botanical or fungal organism (the plants resistance/capacity will get an integral part of the oscillating circuits).
For the design and look we will recycle & reuse wimpy stuff and elements direct from the garden: leaves, thin twigs, wax from the bee hives…

honeybatteries and a soundmodule – materials of the OpenGreens

Candlelight robots, a project developed by Christian Faubel.
The project consists of tiny mobile robots based on the suneater-circuit. They can be driven with just the flame of a candlelight. The light of the candle is transformed into electric energy that is stored in a capacitor and then released to a motor, producing movement. Christian will experiment with the workshop participants to make candles that move autonomously with only the energy from the flame. The circuit and motor will be casted in beeswax, with just the motor shaft and and the solar panel sticking out.

double spread OpenGreens workshop@ okno, from 9 to 10 june 2011

NOW WHAT – about getting out of here

Nowadays, we are treated to a wealth of information about the current global crises — poverty, environmental destruction and all those finance markets supposedly teetering on the edge of the abyss. Yet the time for far-reaching political change is long overdue. After all, despite the dramatic consequences of a consumerist lifestyle, the goal of non-stop growth continues to be propagated. Natural resources are being wasted as though there were no tomorrow, while the international finance markets seem to operate free of any legal or ethical restraints. Is the public sector today ruled by economic interests and nothing else?
Continue reading