Video of the workshop in June now online!

Thanks to Kalle Kuisma for this enchanting video!


Migrating a Swarm

What a lucky coincidence – during our workshop in Kaisaniemi a swarm appeared! Hanna and Mika have placed bees as part of the community gardens in Kuusiluoto. These bees from Artova ry Association have swarmed and Mika and his friends have caught the colony and agreed to place the bees in the Sensored Hive! The bees live on the island of Kuusiluoto and on Tuesday, 10th of June, we row them over to the mainland and give them a new home in Kaisaniemi.

Mika caught the swarm, Harri helped – a fisher net can have many uses…



The cardboard box was too flimsy to keep the swarm contained. Extra cover with a textile helped – a bit.



Transfer to a Langstroth box made the transport to Kaisaniemi more stable.


The boat transfer to the mainland.



Architecture for Bees – Bees for Architecture

bee ark compositionThe third Melliferopolis workshop in Helsinki is taking place at Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden. The first workshop day was dedicated to soft materials and experimenting with felt to make an object that would be placed in a hive….


at the Botanic gardens….


During the second and third day, we created a sculpture to host a colony of bees. The participants decided to use a felt flower bud and paint it in beeswax.



 For weather protection, the felt flower bud was covered in branches and reed.


We were lucky to get a call from Arto Koljonen, a Helsinki based bee keeper, who had caught a swarm and donated the bees to our sculpture.


On Wednesday, we placed the sculpture in the trees and gave these bees a new home. This live sculpture can be visited at the arboretum in Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden.






Sensored Hive – Translating Bees

During the Pixelache Camp Helsinki at Vartiosaari, we equipped a hive with temperature, humidity, and weight sensors. The participants of the Festival showed great interest and the hive will be placed in Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden next to the meteorological station.

We worked indoors …


… outdoors ….


and had a visit from one of the non-human collaborators!


More images are also to be found on Erno’s facebook picture collection – thanx Erno!

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: