Beehabilitation on Spaceship Earth

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“Spaceship Earth” is an enclosed ecosystem where the survival of all crew members depends on our ability to coexist (Ward). Currently, important life support systems on Spaceship Earth are malfunctioning due to human neglect. One result of this malfunction is the rapid decline of fellow crew members such as bees. Humans rely on bees to help pollinate over one-third of our food supply. Thus, our survival is inevitably linked to bee health. With all crew members of Spaceship Earth in mind: What could an ecological space look like where human beings live harmoniously and productively with bees? Beehabilitation on Spaceship Earth is an eco-art initiative that is focused on engaging citizens as actors towards the study and ecology of Calgary’s urban bumblebee populations. In a collaborative effort with Dr. Ralph Cartar from the department of Bioscience, small ceramic sculptures called Bumblebee Domiciles have been designed and field tested. As part of my graduate exhibit in the Nickle Galleries, Bumblebee Domiciles are being offered to the public for free. People who choose to take a Bumblebee Domicile are expected to take part in a community-based art project, to answer five questions about the sculptures functionality. Beehabilitation utilizes Research Creation as an overarching methodology, underpinned by Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and Relational Aesthetics. Supporting methods include observation, field testing, and collaboration. My research is contextualized within an eco-art philosophy to minimize negative impacts on the planet, while maximizing positive impacts for bees. Preliminary findings from Dr. Ralph Cartar’s field tests show a forty-percent occupancy rate in Tree Domiciles. The importance of native bee ecology on Spaceship Earth cannot be overstated. Beehabiltation will educate the public about urban bee populations and ways to create mutual spaces for humans and bees.
eco-art, public art, bees, research creation, relational aesthetics, community-based art, community based participatory research, Collaboration, field research, beehabilitation, spaceship earth
McLernon, D. (2018). Beehabilitation on Spaceship Earth (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/33122