The Intelligent Guerilla Beehive

The Intelligent Guerilla Beehive
AnneMarie Maes

The Intelligent Guerilla Beehive is a research project on the edge of art and science. It evokes issues of sustainability and biodiversity, giving viewers an artistic experience of my ongoing research related to the disappearance of the honeybee.
The goal of the Intelligent Beehive is a double one. At one hand it offers a safe refuge for city honeybees, and at the other hand is is a biosensor that interacts with the environment and that measures the pollution of the foraging fields around the beehive.
The project is a collaboration with the non-human other. Honeybees and bacteria become interfaces to be informed about the health status of our environment. Bees and bacteria become living monitoring technology.

Variation Games (21’50”)
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.