An artist cutting trees in the Botanic Gardens..

The new Melliferopolis season 2014 concentrates the activities in the Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden in the heart of Helsinki. If you find an artist cutting off the Garden fruit trees, don’t get angry – a timing for Australian artist Nigel Helyer´s Melliferopolis residency could not be better: during the summer the Botanic Garden will be renovated and for this reason some of the old trees must be cut. Nigel needs wood and twigs for his sculptural Wicker Man installation and has given a permission to harvest these materials directly from the Garden.

Nigel Helyer working in the Kaisaniemi Botanic Gardens. Photo: Hanna Vainio
Nigel Helyer working in the Kaisaniemi Botanic Gardens. Photo: Hanna Vainio


Also the participants of Bees for Architecture and Architecture for Bees Workshop , on 9-11th June, will have a chance to co-create a sculpture, made out of the material, originated from the Botanical trees.

The second focus of the workshop is to create small sculptural objects out of felt:

The Bees for Architecture concept asks participants to choose a species that they would most like to save from planetary extinction, and then imagine the manner, and the vehicle (a contemporary Noahs Ark if you wish*) by which to save the nominated critters.

The workshop is focused upon the Honey Bee and calls for a sketch, or a prototype model of the craft suitable for Bee survival. What kind of structure, vehicle or vessel would work best for the Bee?

Please find here the May-June Melliferopolis program of activities!



Melliferopolis artist-in-residence 2014

Last week Melliferopolis artist-in-resident Nigel Helyer* arrived to Helsinki from Sydney, Australia.  As a part of his stay he will run a workshop called Bees for Architecture and Architecture for Bees in the Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden. During the workshop 9-11th May, 2014  Nigel aims at co-creating with workshop participants and bees a man-like figure made mainly out of wood and felt and exhibit it in the Garden during this summer. The Wicker Man will also be a home for a colony of bees.

The Call is open until 23rd May, please find the description and registration instructions here:

Melliferopolis Workshop III_text

Ulla, Christina and Nigel in Kaisaniemi Botanical Garden, greeting the Hexa-Hive bees.
Ulla, Christina and Nigel in Kaisaniemi Botanical Garden, greeting the Hexa-Hive bees.


Bees and Humans have evolved a complex interspecies relationship over thousands of years. The relationship is asymmetrical and primarily based upon the exploitation of the bee as a source of honey and wax; as a significant pollinator of agricultural crops and intangibly as a metaphoric and ideological symbol – most often harnessed in support of authoritarian, militaristic and industrial world-views that espouse, order, obedience, tireless labour and selfless loyalty, a harmonious and regular world-order.

 Architecture for Bees inverts these tropes by seeking to create Bee friendly hive structures that are designed solely for the benefit of the super-organism, rather than the kleptomaniac tendencies of the bee farmer.

Architecture for Bees will create a series of unconventional sculptural bee hives that serve the interests of the bee, whilst of course still providing us with the benefits of pollination and perhaps a playful engagement with some of the significant historical myths and metaphors that mark our co-evolution. (The full text by Nigel Helyer can be found here: proworkshop reading_N Helyer)

*Dr. Nigel Helyer (AU)  is an internationally prominent sound artist who’s interdisciplinary practice combines art and science to embrace our social, cultural and physical environments.   He brings these concerns together in poetic art projects that prompt the community to engage with their cultural histories, identity and sense of place; inviting us to examine the abstract conditions of our world and our complex relationships to it. Home page:

Sundance Palimpsest

The installation at Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden, Helsinki, captures the ever changing movement of the sun across the sky. Every day, the sun rays are focused through a magnifying lens hung above a sheet of bees wax – the material used as foundation in the hive by beekeepers. The hexagonal comb pattern is melted and leaves a trace of the solar trajectory. Both the sun’s altitude changing with the season, and the weather conditions are taken into account – parameters crucial for the orientation of bees on their travels.

The compilation of daily recordings will be arranged into a heliographic pamphlet, at the end of the summer.

The materials used are beeswax, jute, zinc wire and a magnifying glass lens.



Preparation of the installation

In the summer of 2014, in Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden of Helsinki, the installation Sundance Palimpsest is on show. Here the preparations….

Hive Five Sound PicNic Video

Get a taste of the event at the end of August at Otaniemi, in the Hexa-Hive-Viallge!

Thanx to the artists!: Till Bovermann, Erich Berger, Markus Koistinen, Chi-Hsia Lai, Simon Lysander Overstall, Julian Parker, Veli-Matti Ikävalko

Please also visit Christin Boggs’ blog on the campus garden!

Excerpts of the recordings also found here:


The Hexa-Hive Village is open

The Hexa-Hive abandons the cubic box design of “modern hives” to replace it with units of hexagonal bodies. But, apart from bee housing, the Hexa-Hive can serve as outdoor furniture – as seat or bench. The design of the Hexa-Hive gives an alternative to bee-keeping in urban surroundings and invites interested visitors to come close and experience these valuable and special animals. 

In Otaniemi, we installed 9 sitting Hexa-Hives and 5 for bees. Currently 3 of them are populated with bees. The Hexa-Hive village is located at Ossinlampi, at the site where the new campus garden will grow. 

You are welcome to visit the Hexa-Hive village, explore the bees’ activity and use the seats!




See also here.