3 October 2014

Author Hannah Lea

Helsinki Humanbeeing

German art and technology collective, The Constitute have been working with school children and beekeepers of Liverpool to create a project bringing bees onto buildings. The project comes to an end on Saturday 4 October when the beehive will be projected onto Ropewalks Square using projection mapping technology. I spoke with Christian Zoellner from The Constitute to find out about the project and what it all means.

For Human Beeing, The Constitute wanted to create something with the minimum of technology, no demanding Internet connections and tech riders or specialised equipment, just something simple and most importantly something natural.

‘We chose to work with bees because of their necessity within our ecologic system. They are needed for pollination and honey. The whole agricultural system would crash without bees. As would we.’ 

Using a relatively new, yet simple technology, projection mapping, video of the bees is stretched onto certain points of the building, effectively ‘wrapping’ around it, so it fits perfectly onto every surface. This allows them to focus on the complexities and importance of the bees, digging themselves into beekeeping and capturing video of hives being built, which were then taken care of by local beekeeper Andrew Hubbard and the children of The Academy of St Francis of Assisi.

‘We wanted to connect communities in urban environments. We thought: let´s put everyone together. Everybody can learn from each other.’

Working together with different members of the local community, creating their own hive, the project aims to change perceptions people can have about bees. Often viewing them as dangerous insects, mistaking them for wasps has lead to people fearing bees. The project also aims to end assumptions that beekeeping is an old fashioned hobby for ‘older grumpy guys, full of knowledge but socially isolated’ as Christian described. 

‘When FAT came with the idea to hook up with a school named Assisi, we thought: that´s a match.  And Andrew Hubbard, the beekeeper is far from that grumpy old guy and the kids were just lovely. Our first time in a British school was very exciting! And the kids did a great job.’ 

Leaving with what seems to be great experiences from their time here in Liverpool, Christian and The Constitute hope to bring more bees to more cities in the future.

‘We want to say with this project: hey, bees are ok. They do not bite, they do not bother, they are not wasps and they do good things for us. Let´s take more care of them!’ 

FACT will be celebrating the culmination of this project with artist, producer, DJ - and beekeeper - Bioni Samp who will be hosting a free family workshop in the FACT Loading Bay between 2pm – 4pm on Saturday 4 October. Using home-made 'bee' synthesisers, learn to understand 'bee frequencies' and use them to create new 'bee' inspired music.

Between 6pm – 8pm, local beekeeper Andrew Hubbard will offer an opportunity to taste a selection of his Liverpool Postcode Honey’s, all with unique flavours depending on the area’s pollen. Later, from 8pm-9pm Bioni Samp will return for a DJ set of bee themed music in front of the Human Beeing projection out on the square.

Human Beeing is a free event as part of Connecting Cities and is supported by the Culture Programme 2007-2013 of the European Union.