The Bee Observatory project transforms 2 roof top gardens located in the center of Brussels at about half a kilometer
distance from each other into communicating vessels. The approach is to install hives in both of the gardens.
It is expected that the bees will manage to bridge the spatial distance and to associate the locations by going about their business and natural processes within their individual yet overlapping territories. The presence and activities of the bee colonies makes the gardens interconnect and interfere. The emerging inter-space can be perceived as place of encounters and neighborhood.
Observing and monitoring the activities of the hives makes bee information directly available.
Technology: camera's, sensors, réseau citoyen open citynetwork.
In a first stage, the project idea suggests the transformation of 2 urban roof top gardens into interfering, communicating entities by installing bees into both spaces. The two rooftop gardens are located at about 400 metes of distance from each other at Koolmijnenkai 30 (OKNO) and Vlaamsesteenweg 66, respectively and offer convenient locations for beehives. The “technical” necessity of air channels for free entrance and exit flight trajectories and sunny location for at least parts of the day are met. There is inter-visibility between the two places.
Point A : OKNO, Brussels 1080 - Point B: So-oN, Brussels 1000. Distance: 400m.
Grotere kaart weergeven
The distance between the locations can be metaphorically bridged by the bee’s presence and their natural activities. Since each colony will be active in a radius of at least a few kilometers from their housing hive, the respective trajectories, areas of floral visits and individual territories will be overlapping and an interference of the hives/gardens takes place. A new space of encounter, the mutual area of existence, can be defined, a new perception of neighborhood can be realized.
- fishmarket / lime trees
- honey tasting to check flavors / foraging territories
Observing and monitoring the activities of the hives coupled with ongoing documentation of each individual hive as well as the interaction between the different colonies will be performed. Information can be obtained from bee hives through visually observing, by listening or smelling. Changes of the hives can be monitored in terms of weight, size or outside/inside temperature of the habitation/colony and via the honey amount or quality. This data has abundant information value, but can also be used and made available in a more indirect/symbolic way. A translation of the signals/data into something publicly accessible is intended. Direct “public moments” on the roof top gardens in the vicinity of the hives add an interactive facet.
At the left hand a snapshot of the so-on_hive, populated with Buckfast bees. At the right hand, a snapshot of the okno_hive, populated with European Black bees.
top bar hive at okno; so-on hives before the thunderstorm; 36°- buckfast bees trying to cool down outside the hive
story of the city honeybees: full story of the OKNO and So-oN honeybees, season 2009-2010.
We started with a colony of Buckfast bees, which are very popular among beekeepers for their gentle character and they are available from bee breeders in several parts of the world. Most of their qualities are very favorable. Their main drawback is that they are very liberal in their application of propolis to inner surfaces of their hives, thus acting to defeat one of the main purposes of the modern beehive — that combs should be easily removable for inspection.
Our second colony was one of native European dark bees. They can be distinguished from other subspecies by their stocky body, abundant thoracal and sparse abdominal hair which is brown, and overall dark coloration; in nigra, there is also heavy dark pigmentation of the wings. Overall, when viewed from a distance, they should appear blackish, or in mellifera, rich dark brown. For breeding pure dark bees according to the standard, details of the wing veins are nowadays considered to be the only reliable distinguishing character.
How to get your organisation funded by your own bee-community.
seed balls info page
download the manual: http://so-on.be:@so-on.be/SO-ON/OpenGreen/seedballs.pdf
On labour day, the 1st of may, we organise a pollination-seed action in honour of the worker bees.
In 5 different OpenGreens –Brussels, Hranicé, Graz, Frankfurt and Breda- we will sow a square meter of Tübinger seedmix, containing a grain-composition of honeyplants.
Every month we’ll do a close monitoring of the square meters in the different OpenGreens, in order to determine the best possible combination of soil, seeds and climate for the honeybees flowers!
“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination … no more men!”
padma.okno.be, collection city honeybees http://padma.okno.be/find?l=L8
- okno: kempische hive swarming http://padma.okno.be/Vfwxn6ld/info
- okno: catching the big swarm http://padma.okno.be/Vfrbbgml/info
- okno: small hive swarming http://padma.okno.be/Vi3brhzu/info
- so-on: the story of the swarms http://padma.okno.be/Vs623ohg/info
- so-on: carnica's swarming twice http://padma.okno.be/Vu0do93j/info
audio-documentation : recorded with directive microphones in the tophole of the beehive
soon available as a link
HOBOS Honey Bees Online (DE / Europe) - supports DIY sci and amateur research and learning about honeybees
Bee Sensory and Behavioural Ecology Lab (UK, Lars Chittka)
Urban Bees - Wildbienen in der Stadt at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Leipzig (DE) - yes, wild bees!
Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
finger stadtimkerei frankfurt - Frankfurt's city bees, a project run by artist's initiative finger (Florian Haas and Andreas Wolf). hives currently on the roof of Frankfurt's museum of modern art (MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst) and at Licht- und Luftbad (“Bienengruppe” / bee group).
Karl von Frisch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_von_Frisch
David Blair: WAXWEB (Since 1993)
You won't believe, but it's still there and ongoing…
[at the moment i am still not sure about the following one: it is about a sci project which is not exactly about time and not about bees/honey bees, but rather about bumble bees and pollination. what is called 'electronic flowers' seems to be a simulation system. however, it seemed to me that it could be related to the bee flower clock… v]
Both following links lead to brief articles / press releases about a research project Jonathan Cnaani conducted in 2000 at U.S.D.A. Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson (USA):
Electronic Flowers Fool Bees Into Cross-Pollinating (2000) - at CheckBiotech : Green Bio
Lori Stiles: Electronic Flowers Built by UA Space Engineers Aids Bee Scientist in Research (2000) - at The University of Arizona News