Melliferopolis Fest – Summer Program 2016

Throughout the spring and summer 2016, MFP Fest program introduces a seminar, workshops, lectures, installations and exhibitions. Many artists and creators participate in the Fest and the program will show what emerged over the years in Melliferopolis. Welcome to join!

Installations open all summer!
In Kaisaniemi, behind Eläintarha Villa and in Tarja Halosen puisto


Visit Melliferopolis in the Linnunlaulu district, and experience the installations: Hexa-Hive Village with Airstrip for Bees, the Other Side Audio Space and the Hexa-Hive and Bee Ark + a photo exhibition at Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden. 

A series of events is planned for late summer:
Please contact us if you want to participate:
christina (at)
ulla (at)


Program details – overview: 


20-22th September 2016 @ Pixelache
The Other Side Architectures Workshop by Ulla Taipale and Christina Stadlbauer

A three-day workshop on Architectures for the Other Side is organized in September 2016, as a part of the program of Pixelache Festival, this year at Lapinlahti Hospital area in Helsinki. The workshop is inspired by the novel Enkelten Verta (The Blood of Angels) by author Johanna Sinisalo, and the works by master architects mimicrying and adapting bee-made patterns and structures to human architecture.

The workshop is led by biologist and beekeeper Lauri Ruottinen (Hunajaluotsi oy) and by an experienced carpenter, and the participants will design and construct experimental bee housing.

Sign up here:

22nd of September, 18.00 @Pixelache
Presentation by Johanna Sinisalo in Lapinlahti

In her presentation, Finnish author Johanna Sinisalo talks about the significance of wondering and questioning in her literary work. She also describes how reality relates to fiction and how they feed each other, particularly in her novel Blood of Angels, in which the honey bees have a special role.

Sinisalo considers herself as an author that likes the best to deal within “the zone where the frontier between natural sciences and the pure wonder is the most vacillating”. She continuously seeks inspiration from the latest scientific research, because “in the periphery of knowledge, in those dark cracks and shadows, where the mystery still exists, also the stories emerge”.

In many cultures the honey bees are believed to be messengers of the Gods, travelling between worlds, and in some cultures they symbolize immortality. Sinisalo explains how extraordinary honey bees are also from a natural/scientific point of view, and how rich a source of inspiration they are for an author – and thus how they can also be messengers between the sciences and arts.

Johanna Sinisalo is a Finnish writer born in 1958, Tampere. She has published six novels for adults, one for children and two short prose collections. Her first novel Not
Before Sundown was awarded the Finlandia Prize in 2000.

The relationship between nature and culture and the analysis of social power structures are usual topics in her work. She often approaches societal themes through fantasy, myth and alternative history.

Sinisalo’s work has been translated into 20 languages and has been awarded many international prizes and nominations. She also works as a screenwriter and script consultant for TV and film.

The talk is part of Pixelache Festival and Melliferopolis Fest 2016 program.

Sanansaattajat maailmojen välillä

Johanna Sinisalo* käsittelee alustuksessaan ihmettelyn ja kyseenalaistamisen merkitystä kirjallisessa työssään. Hän kertoo myös faktan suhteesta fiktioon ja kuinka ne ruokkivat toisiaan, keskittyen erityisesti mehiläisaiheisen teoksensa Enkelten verta syntymiseen ja siihen, miksi hän kiinnostui nimenomaan mehiläisistä. Sinisalo sanoo olevansa kirjailija, joka ”kaikkein mieluiten liikkuu sillä alueella, jossa luonnontieteen ja ihmeen raja on häilyvimmillään” ja etsivänsä jatkuvasti innoitusta fiktioon tieteen uusimmista tutkimuksista, sillä ”tiedon katvealueilla, niissä koloissa ja varjoissa, joissa asuu selittämätön, asuvat myös tarinat”.

Mehiläisiä pidetään hyvin monessa kulttuurissa maailmojen välillä kulkevina jumalten lähettiläinä ja ne ovat myös kuolemattomuuden symboli. Sinisalon alustuksesta selviää, miten ihmeellisiä ne ovat myös luonnontieteellisesti nähtyinä ja miten rikasta materiaalia kirjailijalle – miten ne kulkevat sanansaattajina myös tieteen ja taiteen maailmojen välillä.

*Johanna Sinisalo on tamperelainen vuonna 1958 syntynyt kirjailija. Hän on julkaissut kuusi romaania aikuisille ja yhden lapsille sekä kaksi lyhytproosakokoelmaa. Esikoisteos Ennen päivänlaskua ei voi sai vuonna 2000 Finlandia-palkinnon.

Hänen teemoinaan esiintyvät usein mm. luonnon ja kulttuurin suhde sekä valtarakennelmat. Yhteiskunnallisia aiheitaan hän lähestyy usein fantasian, myytin ja vaihtoehtohistorian keinoin. Sinisalon teoksia on käännetty 20 kielelle ja ne ovat saaneet useita kansainvälisiä palkintoja ja -ehdokkuuksia. Hän työskentelee myös televisio-, elokuva- ja sarjakuvakäsikirjoittajana sekä käsikirjoituskonsulttina


9th of June to 30th of September, 24/7
The Other Side audio space by Ulla Taipale

The Other Side audio space is re-created in a rocky hill behind the Eläintarhan Huvila, a special spot with its own flora and fauna in the centre of Helsinki; it is a natural non-place in the city, not destined for any specific use neither taken care as urban parks tend to be.

The Other Side opens to the visitor through a sound piece featuring parts of the ecopolitical novel Enkelten Verta (The blood of Angels) by Johanna Sinisalo, 2011, read in Finnish and English, as well as live recordings from a nearby beehive. The passer-by or visitor is invited to stop and listen to the sound piece in privacy, open 24/7 from June 9th until end of September.

 Hexa-Hives, semi-permanent Installation at Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden

The Hexa-Hive is an experimental urban beehive with double use. The hexagonal boxes can function as a hive hosting a colony of honeybees, or can be placed on the lawn and used for sitting. The Hexa-Hive invites visitors to explore being close to a colony of honeybees, experiencing intimacy with these insects through their sounds, smell, and their ongoing movement.

This experimental bee-housing has been installed in the Botanic Garden since 2012. It invites the visitor to enter the ”bee space” and experience these valuable animals from up close. See also here!


Bee Ark, semi-permanent installation at Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden

This unconventional hive made of felt and branches is intended as a home for bees and does not allow human access to take their honey. “Der Bien”, the super-organism of a bee colony, can unfold its original characteristics without intervention from outside.

The sculpture is a co-creation between artist Nigel Helyer (AU) and participants of the Melliferopolis Workshop Bees for Architecture; Architecture for Bees, June 2014.

Hexa-Hive Village with Airstrip for Bees by Christina Stadlbauer and Ulla Taipale

This open-air installation features experimental hives for bees and citizens, and a flowerbed, constructed on the lawn area of Tarja Halosen Puisto, next to the Eläintarhan Huvila.
Airstrip for Bees is a strip of flowers, a cornucopia for the senses on the turf. It serves as an appetizer and a dessert for the bees harvesting nectar and pollen, and as a feast for the park visitor´s eyes. Selected flowers care for bees’ and human’s well-being, and bloom all summer long. The Hexa-Hive Village with Airstrip for Bees was exhibited for first time in 2015, in Kouvola Art Museum Poikilo and from June 2016 in the centre of Helsinki, at a public park named by the former president of Finland, Tarja Halonen!

See images here:

Past events:

15-21st August, 2016:
Explore like a Bee” , guided garden tours by artist Charli Clark,
every day 12-16 (tours from 12.30) at Kaisniemi Botanic Garden

Charli sees honey not just as a food bank, but as one of the ways that bees share information and create knowledge concerning their local environment. Through the act of creating honey, the summer bees leave behind a record for the bees born later on, creating a library containing vital pieces of the bee colony’s societal history.

Departing from the analysis of honey from beehives in Kaisaniemi Botanical Garden from July and August 2015, Charli has created foraging maps and a discovery station in Kaisaniemi, offering to guide visitors along the paths that hosts the flowers the bees had foraged the previous year. The exploratory event will happen daily during 15-21th August in Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden starting at 12.30 and their will be time before and after to explore the garden for yourselves using the maps provided, ask questions and learn about the different honey samples and the pollens they contain. The group will gather in front of Café Viola, by the glass hut, the project hub. No registration is necessary. More information will be available closer to the date about the different tours that will be given on different days.

15th-21st August, 2016
Sensory Cartography by Lesley Kadish (USA), every day from 11:00 to 15:00, at Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden

Honeybees use their keen senses and chemical memories to guide them. Their movement can be tracked, analysed, and tasted in the honey they produce. Humans also navigate in a mixed urban and natural sensory ecosystem. However, in our increasingly visual and digital society, we rarely notice the complex sensory world around us — especially the world of smell. Over a period of two weeks, Lesley will guide smell tours and do public sensory mapmaking. Like a moving meditation, participants’ senses will be attuned to the micro ecologies around them. These sensory tours will help participants notice how their non-visual ‘forgotten senses’ guide them. After each walk, the public creates their own summer memory bundle. Each bundle recreates a smell that captures their personal experience of Helsinki in summer 2016. Similar to honey, the summer sacks will nourish participants through the year.

16.8. 17 h and 20.8. 11 h
guided tour; meeting at Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden Greenhouse

Melliferopolis Guided Tour with curators Christina Stadlbauer & Ulla Taipale


18th August 2016, 16:00 – 20:00 @ Hexa-Hive Village with Airstrip for Bees – Hive Concert by Till Bovermann, artist and researcher (DE)

Welcome to an extraordinary public hive concert where you can listen to the inner life of beehives. International sound artists will accompany the sound of bee colony inhabiting the local Hexa-Hive Village.With their individual instruments, they will create an intriguing, inspiring and relaxing soundscape, perfect to relax and start a conversation. The Hexa-Hive Village hosts a custom microphone setup by which it is possible to listen to the bees’ activity inside the hive. Invite your friends also via FB.

See also the HiveFive Sound Picnic and more info on Till and the sound experiments.

1-23rd June 2016, every day except Monday 1, 12:00-15:00
Workshop ”I can’t even make a flower (ICEMF), visual artist Kaisa Illukka (FI),

I can’t even make a flower continues the project Bee activists (2014), which was a
demonstration of bodily identification with bees by hand-pollinating blooming
fruit trees and looking at the city from a bee-flower-perspective.

The new project goes on with the same underlying question of human helplessness and
helpfulness in the framework of ecological interactions. This June, all the willing
artistic and imaginative primates may grip a needle at Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden premises, in the middle of flowering garden, accompanied by artist Kaisa Illukka.
The event will consist of various thematic days and the program is published here.

8th of June, 18:00
Understanding Pollen: Alternative Histories and Unknown Futures
Book Presentation Siitepöly and discussion into further research concerning pollen, bees and the future of pollination, by Charli Clark, Arkadia International Bookshop

Siitepöly was created as a record of research of a honey sample made by bees in Kaisaniemi Botanical Garden. The book is now a form of historical documentation of the activities of those bees and identifies some of the plants they would have visited during summer 2013. Clark’s practice works to expose, explore and reduce the human nature divide through looking at our relationships with our food and food producers, both human and non-human. Bees, and particularly honeybees, are very much ingrained in both nature and culture, as wild and domesticated beings, instinctive and organised, and as producers within their own right of a substance highly valued by humans. Through exploring pollen we can start to unpick some of the secrets of the hive, and the highly diverse and complex relationships between bees and plants. This can give us further insight into the importance of diversity and the need to question our relationship with the honeybee and industrialised agriculture, to help create a stable system of not just healthy honeybees, but also others pollinators.

12th of June, 11:00-16:00
Melliferopolis Bruegel-ing by Christina Stadlbauer

Melliferopolis Bruegel-ing explores the 16th century drawing by Pieter Bruegel, the Elder and its relevance for today. We dive into the symbolism, metaphors and the coded meaning of the drawing. We explore possible new interpretations of the message from the middle ages into a 21st century variation.

For more info , please contact: christina (at)


12th June, 2016, 11:00 – 16:00
“Eat like a Bee” by Charli Clark (UK),

Environmental artist Charli Clark is exploring the complexity of honey and proposes to engage the public with the exciting and microscope world of bees. In her performance Syö niin kuin mehiläinen (Eat Like a Bee), that takes its form as a market stall, she shares her research with the public and visitors can get an insight into the types of foods that beekeepers often feed bees, by tasting. This tasting at Charli’s market stall is planned for 12th of June, Helsinki Day, on the patio of the Eläintarhan Huvila.



Tukijat/ Supporters:
Kone Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden of University of Helsinki, City of Helsinki – Cultural Centre and Environmental Centre, Pixelache,Aalto Biofilia, Hunajaluotsi Oy, Poikilo Museums, Kouvolan Betoni Oy, Metsäpirtin multa – Helsingin seudun ympäristöpalvelut, Robust North Oy. Many thanx to Petri Heino for translating!


Contact: Christina Stadlbauer,, tel: 046902992

Ulla Taipale,,  tel: 0405110214