What’s the story behind this work?
I wanted to connect all the different aspects that the Gropius Bau was interested in—hospitality, generosity, history, politics, poetry. And I thought a new species of bees would connect all of these. Its building has such a fascinating and devastating history. I looked at the archival pictures of the museum after it had been bombed, and I realized there was a garden in the middle and most of the columns on the walls had collapsed. Bees love cavities, they love open spaces that are kind of hidden, so they would have loved to move in these ruins.
What does the name Apis Gropius stand for?
I just invented this new species of bees, called Apis Gropius. Apis is Latin for “bee,” and Gropius refers to the building. During my research I searched for something that could move into the museum, coevolve with the institution, and stay there. It fits the history of the museum, which was formerly an arts and crafts school, and has always been filled with botanical motifs of daisies, flowers—and bees. That’s how I developed the idea of a bee colony that lives within the institution and gives it a new life.
To what extent does this work rely on scientific facts?
It’s a very good example of a work that combines art and science. It combines facts and poetry, it’s semifictional. As it works with augmented reality, it’s imaginative, but it also relies on scientific facts, for instance the fact that more and more bees are coming to the cities, because the countryside is intoxicated by pesticides.