I've been working for the last several months on B-code, a project combining my interest in studying bees from a scientific point, with the goal of learning how bees can adapt to alterations in their environment for collaborative art projects.
For this first study, I built a clear hive body that fully encompasses a mature hive and utilizes a form most conducive to how a hive is shaped in nature: a sphere. Each flat panel allows the outside form to nearly disappear when photographed, and glare off the surface is further reduced by putting the light source inside the form.
Each of the flat panels were formed by pulling flat sheets of PETG over plug molds in a vacuum. Then individual panels are clipped together so they can be easily removed and replaced. Hexagon panels are viewing panels, and the pentagons each have ports for entrances, feeder attachments, and ventilation. The whole form nests to a very small space once disassembled.
The overall goal for this first iteration is to determine whether or not bees can successfully live in an all-plastic hive in the ambient humidity and temperature ranges my my lab. This is step one towards the final goal of growing collaborative sculptures, where I can manipulate the comb-building process enough to make forms that are truly unique.
Results of first trial: Success.