Urban Ecologies: “In the City of the Apis Queen”


Session Title:

  • Urban Ecologies

Presentation Title:

  • Urban Ecologies: “In the City of the Apis Queen”




  • The locative media project: “In the City of the Apis Queen” is discussed here within the framework of urban ecologies. The artists describe how, through an innovative, futuristic quasi-gaming model, they have compared relationships between individuals in an urban social context and the behaviours of a community of European honey bees. During the project a futuristic socio-cultural narrative text is developed; combining such diverse disciplines as: visual arts, new media practice, literature, computer science and the biological sciences. This paper outlines the artist’s interdisciplinary concerns and the ways in which this approach lends itself to flexible, hybrid practices.

    The project’s overall focus on open-ended, interdisciplinary methodologies that fully explore the creative potentials of hybrid media art are examined here in conjunction with the role played by the artist’s observations of honey bee behaviours. The development of the creative structures underlying participant experiences that encompass both ecological and socio-cultural narrative structures in the contemporary urban context are defined. The artists also expand upon their aim to generate a networked project consciousness that grows out of the recorded “energies” of participant engagement and evolves to resemble a “hive-mind-whole” artwork system.

    The functions of programmed technologies that generate the artwork system are detailed; in particular that of the custom-made wearable devices that are fundamental to the work. The artists demonstrate how these components self organise into a local network and communicate with each other in real time through a digitally programmed system of web portals aimed at mobile browsers and the immersion of participants. Illustrated examples from the project demonstrate how participants navigate through this open-ended system to experience the unique presentation of the work’s literary, creative narrative and, through their participation, build new aspects of this narrative.

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