name: Variation Games, year start: 2017, year end: 2018, techniques: video account of 1 year intensive bee monitoring – 21’50”; author/director: AnneMarie Maes; editing: Margarita Maximova; Sound supervision: Joeri Bultheel

VARIATION GAMES are games where the set of rules is constantly adapted by the players.
The bees act as transmitters in an interconnected web of bio-intelligent agents. They construct a bioremedial beehive and create a symbiotic environment for exchange with specific bacteria.
They are sentient, perceptive; they see, feel, navigate and communicate. They fabricate and dance, they collect and build, they perform and reproduce. The result of this collaboration is a biotechnological device: the Intelligent (Guerilla) Beehive.

The video is a condensed edit of a year-long audiovisual observation of the behaviour of a honeybee colony in the private environment of their refuge. The recordings are made with an infrared camera and contact microphones inside the beehive. The content of this video focuses on the first 6 weeks of the observation, when the bees start the building of their nest. The images show how they first scan the empty space and detect all foreign objects (in this case paper pasted on the back of the hive), which they propolize and eventually tear down, thus appropriating their territory. They start organizing their activities to design the locus as their home. The images demonstrate and reveal decision-making, networking, collaboration and collective intelligence. The soundtrack is based upon recordings made in the beehive.
This video throws the viewer out of his comfort-bee-zone, and shows the colony in action from an unusual point of view.

The video was shown at:
– Miró Foundation Barcelona (2018)
– Museum of Tomorrow (Museo do Amanha) Rio de Janeiro (2018)
– Haus der Electronischen Künste (HeK) Basel (2018)
– Maat (Museum Art Architecture Technology) Lisbon (2018)
– Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon (Royal Visit) (2018)
– Piksel Festival Bergen, Norway (2018)
– Mirage Festival Lyon, France (2019)
– Wilhelm Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany (2019)
– Laboral Art Center, Gijon, Spain (2019)
– Rixc Un-Green Festival, Riga, Latvia (2019)
– The New Green Deal, STARTS at Snowball (2020)
– Meakusma X IKOB, museum for Contemporary Art Eupen (2020)
– Oortreders Festival Neerpelt (2020)
– Pilar Gallery, Free University Brussels (2021)
– iMAL, Center for Art & Technology Brussels (2021)
– Generation Y, School of Art, Manchester (2021)

‘Womens’ Work is never done’ – Variation Games, mailing for ‘Beehave’ exhibition, Miró Foundation in Barcelona (2018)