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AnneMarie Maes (Bélgica)

Título: The Intelligent Beehive, bio-art with bacteria


For most of the past decade I have been growing, hacking, digitizing, building, and thinking about beehives - particularly those in urban areas. Collaborating with a team of biologists, I am reconceptualizing what a beehive is and what it can be.
The bio-art project The Intelligent Beehive monitors the behaviour of urban honeybee colonies as a source of inspiration for ongoing artistic research into issues of ecological, architectural and social sustainability in urban environments. Bees are bio-indicators. They reflect the health of their surrounding ecosystem as well as the cumulative effects of different pollutants. In many industrialized regions the colonies are threatened. Air pollution, the compromised state of their foraging fields, pesticides and parasites are among the main factors. 
To raise awareness about the disappearance of the honeybees, I imagined the concept of an Intelligent Beehive. It is a radically new beehive. Tailored to the needs of the bees (instead of those of the beekeeper), and augmented with supportive bacteria, it is intended to help the bees in their survival and pollinating tasks, and thus protect the biodiversity of the environment. 
My Intelligent Beehive has been a starting point for exploring possible futures through artistic research on materials science and biotechnology. Navigating between a blueprint and a proof of concept, the Intelligent Beehive artistically tackles a new challenging application domain where a collaboration between human and non-human actors is necessary to maintain the resilience of our ecological system.

Short Bio

AnneMarie Maes is an artist and a researcher. Her art meanders on the edge of biology, ecology and technology. Her research practice combines art and science with a strong interest for DIY technologies. She works with a range of biological, digital and traditional media, including live organisms. Her artistic research is materialized in techno-organic objects that are inspired by factual/fictional stories; in artifacts that are a combination of digital fabrication and craftsmanship; in installations that reflect both the problem and the (possible) solution, in multispecies collaborations, in polymorphic forms and models created by eco-data. In her Laboratory for Form and Matter she studies the processes by which Nature creates form. She observes and analyzes these processes, isolates them or causes them to appear in artificial conditions. From this artistic research she creates artworks in many different media: installations and sculptures, video, audio, photographs and objects. She has a strong international profile, having exhibited in art centers and festivals worldwide. In 2017 she was awarded a Honorary Mention in the Hybrid Art category at Ars Electronica, for the Intelligent Guerilla Beehive project.