Honeybees in Urban Environments

Melliferopolis is a trans-disciplinary initiative at the intersection of art and    bio-sciences. The project is centered around honeybees, their role in urban eco-systems, the implications of keeping bees in the city and the function and properties of honey and bees as bio-monitors. Transmission and translation of these topics is done through artistic expressions. 

Honeybee Products – Science

A pot of honey provides versatile information on the habitat, quality and quantity of available food, and the impact of pollutants in a defined perimeter of the hive. City honey is said to be less polluted by pesticides than its rural counterpart. This claim and other aspects will be investigated with science partners, putting the emphasis on examination and analysis of characteristics and differencies in urban and rural situations.

Visibility and Accessibility – Art

Melliferopolis aims to translate both the process and the outcome of the scientific investigation into creative expressions. Artists are asked for their interpretations, communities are invited to actively participate in hands-on workshops. Installing the project in various places offers visibility and a chance of involvement for several neighborhoods. Lectures, workshops, exhibitions and other interventions offer a platform for debate and critical discussion and contribute to social awareness and knowledge about bees. An experimentally designed multi-functional hive will be hosted at Kaisaniemi Botanical garden to trigger cultural debate.

Urban Environments – Culture

Urban apiculture gains popularity all over Europe due to cities being a beneficial habitat for bees. Melliferopolis raises issues related with cities as complex ecosystems, the composition of  chemical substances that surround us, food and nutrition from urban agriculture, as well as fears and attitudes towards “the natural other” in the city. Installing urban beehives to revitalize and green city spaces adds to the recreational value of urban environments. Nevertheless, bees in the city might provoke strong reactions or discomfort towards the unknown in their vicinity. Melliferopolis investigates the tension between curiosity or the longing for nature towards the alienation from it.