Architecture

Bees help shape experience inside The Hive

Bees help shape experience ins...
The Hive at Kew Gardens in London is a new installation inspired by recent research on bee communication
The Hive at Kew Gardens in London is a new installation inspired by recent research on bee communication
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Visitors walk through a one-acre wildflower meadow to reach The Hive
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Visitors walk through a one-acre wildflower meadow to reach The Hive
The Hive is especially dramatic after dark
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The Hive is especially dramatic after dark
View of The Hive looking up while standing in the center
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View of The Hive looking up while standing in the center
The Hive will be featured at Kew Gardens through the end of 2017
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The Hive will be featured at Kew Gardens through the end of 2017
The Hive is made up of 1,000 LED lights that brighten and dim according to the energy levels of a real beehive on the garden's grounds
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The Hive is made up of 1,000 LED lights that brighten and dim according to the energy levels of a real beehive on the garden's grounds
The Hive at Kew Gardens in London is a new installation inspired by recent research on bee communication
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The Hive at Kew Gardens in London is a new installation inspired by recent research on bee communication
The hexagonal latticework of The Hive from below
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The hexagonal latticework of The Hive from below

The Hive, an installation from sculptor Wolfgang Buttress that is made from 170,000 pieces of aluminum formed into a 17-m (56 ft) tall lattice resembling an enormous swarm of bees, is coming to London's Kew Gardens. The metal's hexagonal shapes are also honeycomb-like, with the light-, sound- and vibration-emitting structure controlled by the activity of bees in an actual beehive on the garden's grounds.

Originally created as the centerpiece of the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo, The Hive was inspired by scientific research into the health of honeybees and their vital role as pollinators.

Visitors walk through a one-acre (0.4-ha) wildflower meadow – presumably filled with pollen-gathering bees – leading up to the art piece. Once inside the structure, the intensity of the lights and the beehive-type sounds change with the energy levels in the real beehive, giving a sense of what life might be like inside an actual hive.

The piece works through vibration-sensing accelerometers that are placed inside the beehive, which pick up the activity from the bees and send it to The Hive in real-time. Those signals are then translated to the 1,000 LED lights, growing brighter or dimmer in response to the bee's activity. In addition, a soundscape from a 40,000-bee colony, a musical ensemble and human voices created by the band Spiritualized, accompany the modulating lights.

For the vibratory experience, bone conductors installed under The Hive convert sound into vibrations. If a visitor bites on a wooden stick connected to the conductor, one of four types of vibrations travel directly to bones in their skull. They can "hear" tooting and quacking signals the virgin queen bee emits when challenging other queens for hive leader. Begging signals come from bees requesting food from another bee, and the familiar waggle dance signals the exact whereabouts of pollen sources.

This is said to represent communication between bees, which are believed to "talk" through vibrations, as was recently discovered by physicist Martin Bencsik at Nottingham Trent University. Buttress, who is also from Nottingham, was inspired by the research in his design of The Hive, which will be on display at Kew Gardens through 2017.

Source: Kew Gardens

1 comment
SaysMe
Bees and/or wasps might actually build nest in structure, bee careful...