Visitors to the Royal Botanic Gardens in London now have the opportunity to see the world from an insect’s perspective. As CNN reports, The Hive is a massive, steel art installation controlled by bees living on the property.
Artist Wolfgang Buttress originally created the sculpture for the 2015 Milan Expo to serve as the centerpiece of the UK pavilion. At its new home in London’s Kew Gardens, it’s been outfitted with thousands of LED lights and microphones connected to a real beehive nearby. As the bees' vibrations grow stronger, a symphony of vocals, cello music, and insect sounds fill the structure’s interior. Lights lining the honeycomb walls fade and glow with the rising and falling noise.
As visitors walk around inside the nearly 56-foot tall installation, they're called to reflect upon the importance of the honeybee and the growing obstacles it faces. According to the USDA, about a third of everything we consume is indirectly or directly affected by honeybee pollination. When factors like pesticides and climate change threaten pollinators, our livelihoods are also at stake.
The Director of Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Richard Deverell, told CNN:
“The purpose of 'The Hive’ is to tell the story of the role of bees in pollinating crop plants and therefore feeding the planet. I thought that was perfect for Kew because we want to bring alive why plants matter, and clearly one of the most important things that plants do, is to feed humanity.”
The installation is currently on display at the Gardens and will remain up through the end of 2017.
All images courtesy of Design Indaba via Twitter.
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