The changing role of art in society is one where it does not just create a new aesthetics but gets involved in patterns of social, scientific, and technological transformations. The exhibition Fields presents a lively landscape of art that challenges existing viewpoints, deconstructs social issues, and proposes positive visions for the future. Artists in the Fields exhibition make new combinations of existing fields-as-in-disciplines – fusing and navigating between the social and the natural, the scientific and the emotional, the sensible with the actual in imaginative ways.
Annemie Maes is contributing the to the FIELDS exhibition with the installation FORAGING FIELDS. She will give a talk on the art & science of Bee Monitoring during the RENEWABLE FUTURES conference.
Annemie Maes studies the co-evolution between urban honeybees and ecosystems. Bees are bio-indicators who are very sensitive to the different ecologies surrounding them. In order to research the optimal conditions for survival of the honey bees, Maes has set out several urban test fields – populated with beehives – in the Brussels’ Canal Zone. This area generates diverse activities, from community gardening and urban agriculture to accidental nature. All this develops between industrial buildings, office zones and living areas. Her beehives are augmented with webcams, microphones and sensors to monitor the behaviour of the colonies, whilst the surrounding ecosystem is scanned by analysis of the pollen and nectar that the bees bring back from their foraging flights. The different hives are all nodes in a distributed guerilla beehives network. The test sites are connected by the flight routes and foraging fields of the bees. Together they shape a green corridor through the city. The installation uses live-data to give insights into research, on the edge of art, science and ecology.