In 2011 Finnish author Johanna Sinisalo published the ecopolitical novel Enkelten Verta (The Blood of Angels). This novel was the source of the inspiration for the Other Side audio space, which was installed on a rocky hill behind of Eläintarhan Huvila, in Helsinki Linnunlaulu district. This natural public space is a special spot with its own flora and fauna in the center of Helsinki; it is a natural and charming non-place in the city, not destined for any specific use neither maintained as meticulously as urban parks tend to be.
The Other Side is featured in the Johanna Sinisalo novel as an enigmatic parallel world, where the earthly bees have their own access. The installation features parts of Sinisalo’s novel, recorded in Finnish and English, interpreted by artists Merja Markkula and Kira O´Reilly. You can listen to the sound tracks below the text.
The graphics of the signs represent the structures of flowers growing at the site. They symbolize a maple, violet, bird cherry, rose, nettle and an elder tree. The floral diagrams were created and introduced in the late 19th century by German botanist August W. Eichler.
This was the first edition of The Other Side aural space and exhibited in the program of Melliferopolis Fest, the series of events set between the wild and civilization in in summer 2016. It created a summer-long shared space of encounters for Bees and non-Bees through visible actions and collaborations with semi-wild animals in public urban settings, experimenting with new ways of understanding bees, beekeeping and the ecology of the hive.
Melliferopolis Fest opened on June 9th 2016 with three experimental urban hive installations; Hexa-Hives and a Bee Ark in Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden, and the Hexa-Hive Village with Airstrip for Bees in Tarja Halonen Puisto. Artists Charli Clark, Till Bovermann, Nigel Helyer, Kaisa Illukka and Lesley Kadish presented their works in the program of the Fest.
The Melliferopolis Fest program was inspired by art history, literary, natural scientific research methodologies, architecture, music, landscaping, smells, sounds and flavors. It was curated and organized by Christina Stadlbauer & Ulla Taipale, with artist and designer Hanna Kaisa Vainio.