Wings of Hymenoptera. The Anatomy of the Honey Bee (Snodgrass, 1910)

The Other Side aural space

Our curiosity and our need to understand other forms of intelligence have brought about, among other interests, the study of the life of bees in different centuries and cultures. There is a striking number of thinkers who have shown an interest in the ingenuity and the extraordinary capacities of bees. Since ancient times, these insects have also been associated with immortality and the ability to communicate across parallel worlds.

Listening to the writings encourages one to understand that the bees are embedded in our natural environments, lifecycles and cultures so profoundly but in such subtle ways, that their significance is often being ignored, until they recently started vanishing from our lives, like many other Hymenopterans.

The Other Side aural space permits the audience to listen to fragments of bee related texts using augmented reality app called Arilyn. The project was launched by Ulla Taipale in 2016 in the framework of Melliferopolis – Honeybees in Urban Environments and have been exhibited in public places in Finland, Spain and Switzerland.

The earlier editions were site-specific and installed in a public park in the centre of Helsinki as a part of Melliferopolis Fest, in Barcelona where the work was commissioned by the Fundació Joan Miró for the Beehave exhibition in 2018, and in summer 2019 at Cimetière des Rois, Geneva, as part of 1000 Ecologies exhibition of Utopiana collective.

The work is site-specific and thus, the recorded audio excerpts were available only when the installation is exhibited vía Arilyn smartphone application. The atmosphere of each place gives the work its special feeling, and the meteorological or seasonal changes of the environment influence to the listening experience. Since autumn 2020, due the corona virus related restrictions and cancellations of new site-specific exhibitions, the work is also available to be listened to online, thanks to the support of Alfred Kordelin Foundation.

Welcome to the Other side!

All plants yield honey as you see. To the industrious Chymick bee
 Sic nos non nobis mellificamus apes stands for “So we the bees make honey, but not for ourselves”, while the scholar’s words Omnia in libris means “Everything is found in books”.

In ancient beekeeping history the bee is often referred to as a chemist. The bee chemist discriminates not, and gathers nectar from not only the most beautiful of flowers, but also from the hideous, both providing nectar for the bee to turn into honey. We propose that the woodcut is meant as a metaphor to illustrate the value in educating ones self by reading literature. And like the flower, all books contain knowledge, and all books yield knowledge to those who seek it.
Source: Historical Honeybee Articles, Image: Dutch Woodcut, 1706.