When Melliferopolis started its activities in Finland, in 2012, the urban beekeeping boom had not yet reached the cities of the North. At that time in Helsinki, only a few other hives had been installed and they were on rooftops, private gardens and in other areas with minimal public access.
Melliferopolis introduces bees in public urban locations and creates an experiential space for exploring human-nature relations at the border of the familiar and the uncertain, the tame and the wild, fear and fascination.
Over the course of the years, Melliferopolis has installed hives with bees in various places in urban contexts, including botanic gardens, museums, the Aalto University Campus in Otaniemi and in Tarja Halosen puisto, a public park in the centre of Helsinki. These interventions have changed the appearance and the energy of these sites, differently than a sculpture could for example. One reason could be that the installations are alive, they host a colony of bees with all its consequences. This requires a particular type of maintenance, care and spatial permits. These live entities themselves also change their environment by living in it and triggering changes in the ecosystem around them. The Hexa-Hive, for example, can illustrate how an outdoor landscaped garden installation can serve as an incentive for inter-species encounters, and at the same time, challenge the paradigm of conventional beekeeping.
Apart from beehives, other artistic interventions related with bees took place in urban, public places. They introduce other ways of thinking about bees, through literature, science or crafts. Via these works we aim to give notice to the vital aspects and different roles that bees and other pollinators play in our daily lives.
As examples, we can mention the Sundance Palimpsest at the Helsinki University Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden, or The Other Side audio space in Helsinki, Barcelona and, next summer, in Geneva, as well as two concerts by Till Bovermann & co, organised in Otaniemi Campus and in Tarja Halonen park.