Orientation – monument to the honeybee

This work is seen as a theoretical model for a permanent monument to the Honeybee – intended to help prevent the necessity of its completion by highlighting the threat bees face.

The piece makes specific reference to the marvellous and mysterious components of bee orientation: verticality (gravity); geometry (beehive cell structure); sun position; and time. The project also refers to the mortal threat to the bee population from the ubiquitous insecticides with which seeds are treated, which interrupt the neural orientation processes by which bees find their food. This is currently leading to a crisis in bee populations which also threatens human food production, since one third of human food is bee-pollinated.

The exterior is painted and stained with black creosote or bituminous paint and intense coloured flower images, the chemical smell of which reminds us of the chemical threat to the bee orientation systems. The sky-reflective roof points to the south, the sky and the sun to act as literal orientation device for the human visitors to the landscape.

The darkened space is transformed, through the use of reflective surfaces into a hexagonal ‘cell’ with a glowing vertical column of amber sunlight at its centre. The light column emits beams of light which fall across the floor and move as the sun moves across the sky. Which direction is the sun? We all, plant, animal and human alike, need orientation.

Iljana Eggert – collaborator with Luke Lowings
Maria Westerstahl – collaborator with Luke Lowings
Montage Gruppen Malmo – Fabricator.
Luke Lowings & Marianne Morild