Site: Bee Gone

February 28, 2018

Bees pollinate one third of our food. Industrialization of agriculture, mono-cultures and pesticides have caused an alarming decline in bee populations. This phenomenon could be linked to the Anthropocene, a geological term explaining environmental effects caused by human activity. When declining bee populations was first acknowledged in 2013, beehives started appearing in Stockholm, however, today only a few beehives still exist. What happened to them? Why did they disappear?

The chosen site for my story is one of the beehives within the community gardening project ‘Trädgården på Spåret’ in Skanstull 2016. It is thus a past site with considerable current implications. The site has suffered several acts of violence and thefts, the beehives in particular which have been terrorized multiple times and finally destroyed with metal bars. As a result of this many bees were killed.

Bees and other wing like creatures are often regarded as ‘pests’ within the human landscape, when in fact they help sustain our capitalist and destructive ways. The destruction of bees will come back and haunt us, fuelling the cease of our very existence (Haraway, 2016). With this in mind the beehives within ‘Trädgården på Spåret’ can be considered a site which is at the brink of environmental exhaustion.

Non-human creatures are seldom allowed to exist in their natural state and habitat unless humans invite them into their built environment and into their human-built contraptions. The beehive, for example, does not only exist for bees, but also for humans to benefit from pollination and their honey gifts for personal gain and profit. ‘Modifications of space and material configurations all eventually reshape (and possibly hinder) many of our spaces of cohabitation. The question is, then: From whose perspective does this occur? Whose point of view?’ (Palmesino, Rönneskog, Turpin, 2014).

Due to the acts of vandalism, the community gardening project has now been forced to move away from the city centre, where no new beehives are planned. The site in its current state is unused and forgotten as well as creating haunting natural and cultural complications due to the further disappearance of bees.

Antonia Myleus

 

Haraway, Donna ‘Tentacular Thinking: Athropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene’, in e-flux #76, September 2016 http://www.e-flux.com/journal/75/67125/tentacular-thinking-anthropocene-capitalocene-chthulucene/

Turpin, Etienne, ed. (2013), ‘Introduction’ in Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Time, and Philosophy, Ann Arbor: Open Humanities Press, Michigan Publishing, 2013. http://www.openhumanitiespress.org/books/titles/architecture-in-the-anthropocene/

 

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