Golden Pavilion, Entenwerder 1, 20539 Hamburg
1 May 2019 – 31 July 2020
ElbeBees is called a project by AnneMarie Maes, who developed a bio-tech-sculpture, a beehive or „loot“ as named by beekeepers, especially for the matters of bees, instead of the additional efficiency of human beings. No honey will be harvested, but the bees use it for their own surviving. Nonetheless the beehive is under human and technological control. The sculpture is enhanced with a digital surveillance system in order to enable the further research of the artist concerning the disappearing of the honeybees. The beehive is doubled in Hamburg and in Brussels. Via internet an exchange of information for the researcher and the public is facilitated. The Hamburg beehive is located on pile moorings beside the pontoon for the Golden Pavilion in Entenwerder. A beekeeper frequently checks the situation at the site. It is observable in free space for a whole bee season, approximately for 16 months, during the opening times of the public café. Video-, audio, and climate recordings as well as background material are exhibited in the Golden Pavilion.
Concerning the vision of the current city curator’s program HAMBURG MASCHINE to make a complex city graspable as a machinical texture, the work of AnneMarie Maes fits perfectly. She visualizes and exemplifies these big questions, and gives them an artistic materiality enhanced by modern technology. Her work makes abstract thinking sensitive and perceptible for a wide public on a high artistic level in order to create a place for discussion, contemplation and reflection of socio-technological issues. ElbeBees is a research project on the edge of art and science. It evokes issues of sustainability and biodiversity, giving viewers an experience of AnneMarie Maes’ ongoing research related to the disappearance of the honeybee.
The goal of the ElbeBees-beehive is a double one. On the one hand it offers a safe refuge for city honeybees, and on the other hand it is a biosensor that interacts with the environment and that measures the pollution of the foraging fields around the beehive.
The ElbeBees-project explores ecological aspects of digitality in the context of HAMBURG MASCHINE, a metaphor of the city as a machine in the digital age. Animal life, especially bees, are essential for the survival of a social community. Moreover certain forms of organizing a social collective have been figuratively compared in art history with the functioning of bee’s colonies, e. g. like Joseph Beuys did with his notorious „Honigpumpe/ honey-pump“ at documenta 6 in Kassel 1977. Transcending Beuys’ material forms in the digital age means to connect advanced technology with a living bio-system which develops an inspiring way of exploring innovative modes of interactions and interfaces between artificial machines, reasonable human and instinctive animal intelligence as a supply for a future art. Maes’ invention is completely new for the international art place Hamburg and her project is science fiction in nowadays urban noise.
The Golden Pavilion itself was an art spot and architectural contribution to the outdoor-exhibtion Skulptur Projekte in Münster from 2007. The café opened 2015. It is a „place to be“ for Hamburg neighbours and international visitors of the harbour. The location is ideal for the beehive-sculpture, because it will be noticed by a wide range of people including many non-art lookers at a lovely, and very urban spot in public space.
The Set Up