Birundan

🕰 lördag 3.9.2022 kl 11-17 och söndag 4.9.2022 kl 11-17

📍 På Degerö, i Turholmens park, i trädgården av Trädgårdsmästarens stuga, ljust hus på backen i norra delen av parken

Birundan är ett mångsinnligt evenemang för hela familjen. Keramikkonstnär Catharina Kajander, bildkonstnär Aino Aksenja samt Turholmens biodlare och ljuskonstnär Ina Niemelä bjuder in dig i trädgården. Med oss också multikonstnär-musiker Noora Kauppila, Bins sällskap och sångare-låtskrivare Nightbird. Birundan är en del av Konstrundan-helgen, där konstnärer runtom i Finland öppnar sina ateljéer för publiken.

Vi är på plats, vår konst är på plats, kom du med!

Båda dagarna:

Turholms vilohem – Aino Aksenjas installation

Turholms campingplats – Ina Niemeläs ljusverk

Kritiskt utrotningshotade arter – del av verk Catharina Kajander är med

Sanctuary – Aksenjas och Niemeläs levande trädgårdsinstallation

Nostatus – Noora Kauppilas ljudverk

HO.5 Turholmsparken – Matt Parkers verk

Våffelkafé och honungskiosk!

Lerverkstad för barn.

Lördag:

Sångare-låtskrivare Nightbird (Anna-Stina Jungerstam) uppträder ca kl 15

❗️Tillgänglighet: Evenemanget är kostnadsfritt och passar alla intresserade. Parken är inte fullt tillgänglig. Det finns en gångväg i god skick till Trädgårdsmästarens stuga, men terrängen är backig och vägen i grus. Parkens parkeringsplatser finns på gångavstånd till trädgården och de är begränsade. Vi rekommenderar att komma till fots, på cykel eller med kollektivtrafik. I parken finns sommartoalett på den sydliga parkeringsplatsen. Evenemanget äger rum utomhus så klä dig enligt det.

Birundan har fått stöd från Svenska kulturfonden och Helsingfors stad.

Listening at Scale: Bee Company open residency reflections

The listening experience is not only a geographical teleportation device but a scalar one. You become reduced in size too.

Matt

June 2022

June 2022 marked the third collective gathering with Bee Company. In the summer of 2021 Bee Company initially joined together in the beautiful surroundings of the Saari Residence. In that time we explored each of our individual creative practices, methodologies and conceptual frameworks. Our second gathering took place within Tullisaari Park in the winter of 2022. During this period we considered possibilities for how we might be able to create a public tour of the park which integrated our individual practices and methodologies in an event format. The third and most recent gathering was—for me at least—an opportunity to continue an ongoing interest in exploring our individual methodologies, but also to begin to share some of our practice and interests with the public audience of Tullisaari Park.

On PQ 2023

In March 2022 we were offered to be the official representation of Finland in the forthcoming Exhibition of Countries and Regions of PQ2023 (Prague Quadrennial) festival of performance design. Since this announcement was made our collective activity has started to become shaped by the needs to produce an output corresponding to PQ2023. It has become somewhat contra to our—up to this point—iterative collective process. Our direction has started to feel in tension between imagining this concrete output of a major international festival with pavilion style exhibitions against our characteristically tempered collective gatherings and their slow collection of tributaries; ideas which branch off and reconvene with different forms. A question for the midsummer open park residency was to engage with this tension between remaining in our fluid and exploratory stage of our collective work, whilst also understanding the need to do our work –and Finland!—justice within the context of an international artistic/performance design exhibition, with pavilions, competition, prizes, pride, and artistic statements all at stake.

For the remainder of this reflective passage on my personal experience of our open residency in Tullisaari Park, I will think about my personal experience of public engagement within the project. I am interested in thinking about the possible implications of this time spent together in the park and what it might mean (if anything) for our proposal and contribution towards a festival happening 2,000km and over a year away.

RARE

The PQ 2023 theme is the RARE: art springing out of ideas, materials, artistic approaches, and design practices that connect to the human level from within your environment, with its genius loci and unique situation. Prague Quadrennial call on performance designers, scenographers, and performance practitioners to use their RARE imagination and creativity to help us envision what the world and theatre could look like in the post-pandemic future.

This was the opening of the curatorial statement for PQ 2023 in its call for applicants. I have begun to think of Bee Company as an almost nomadic collective. It is a mesh-group which forms in different configurations around the locus of Tullisaari Park where Ina cares for and maintains four honeybee hives.

The ‘roaring 1920s’ are often considered as an era of great exuberance and excess across Europe and US. Recovery from the First World War and subsequent Spanish Flu pandemic was under way and The League of Nations promised security, collaboration and prosperity amongst the member nations including Finland, who had itself become an independent republic in 1917. This boom, captured magnificently by the scenes presented in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby suggests a ‘20s of huge celebrations, parties, debauchery and entertainment. During the height of the pandemic, commentators speculated as to whether a return to a world similar to the 1920s was due. Would people be keen to ‘get out there’ and ‘party hard’, entertain and be entertained? Would the post-pandemic performance and theatre worlds resonate to a demand for exuberance, with huge shows, lights, networks, sounds, big! Bigger! Biggest!? I am also conscious that the 1920s came to a brutal climax with the 1929 Wall Street Crash. It turned out that the excess was completely unaffordable and that people had been massively over speculating based on nothing (a typical condition that recurs time and time again under capitalism).

In 2022 the global economy is on the brink and across the West inflation is nearing all-time highs in many nations, strike action is becoming increasingly frequent and the cost of living is soaring. At the same time, profits for those at the top of shareholder stakes are also at ridiculous highs. How can this be sustained? If the markets won’t crash, do workers need to revolt and force their hand?

Listening as episteme; a knowledge gatherer, structurer, codifier, and ephemerata.

The conditions of Western economics and global markets under capitalism are also imbricated within the environmental impacts it continues to contribute towards. The summer of 2022 has seen unprecedented levels of climate catastrophes, global heatwaves, droughts and fires have broken out in areas often affected, but also new areas which have not suffered before. Simultaneously a war on European land has broken out which not only has impacted the lives and wellbeing of those within the borders whose lives are threatened on a daily basis, but also the ramifications the war is having upon food and fuel supplies across the world.

It all feels incredibly heavy. It all feels like a significant weight to load upon the shoulders of six creative practitioners and four honey bee hives. Should Bee Company be responding to this global crisis? At what level can we engage with it if we do?

Our mission has always been to reflect on the precarity of the creative practitioner within the conditions of western capitalism where funding for the arts is being constantly slashed, and at risk and positions remain always temporary, precarious and subject to the goodwill of wealthy benefactors. How do we support each other? How do we support ourselves? How might we explore our practices and these conditions together, and might the world of beekeeping/the lifeworld of honeybees act as inspiration for the way ahead?

Tullisaari Park

In the park, we met each day for a four days. We would share activities together, reconnect, discuss our feelings around the presentation of Bee Company to public audiences; one audience being that of our open event in the park at the end of the week and the other an international performance art and design crowd at PQ 2023.

Each day we wore beekeeper outfits that Ingvill had bought us. They helped us assume a formal presence, a formal sense of purpose and cohesiveness as a collective. It was also really fun to be in a costume and to see the confused looks of members of the public in the park when they saw a fleet of beekeepers marching. They would look around to see if there were bees somewhere, only to be left bemused that there almost always weren’t.

My work is primarily interested in listening. I am interested in listening as an individual artistic practice, listening as a technique, method, and methodology towards approaching and understanding the world. Listening as episteme; a knowledge gatherer, structurer, codifier, and ephemerata. Spending time with conscientious thinkers, speakers and listeners is a great pleasure. We don’t just listen with our ears; through haptic tactility and proprioception, we listen with our bodies too. And on our first day, we collectively joined and explored our bodies as resonators in a movement practice set by Suvi. We each responded to the fine adjustments sensed between each other’s bodies in what became a quiet dance. No music could be heard but the bodily rhythms and pulses felt, the breathing, steps, and rustling of costumes heard.

Listening with bees

On the final day we presented some ‘experiences’ to the public park. I was a bit isolated from the rest of the group who were located in different areas of the park tending to other activities. Dressed in beekeeper suit, I was based on a path which is one of the main entrances into the park. It is also where two of Bee Company’s hives are (down a hilly bank, in a dense field).

The two hives included one Farrar hive and one Top Bar hive. A Farrar hive is a vertically modular beehive with hung frames that bees use to build comb and store honey. They are a typical and familiar aesthetic ‘box’ design that are often what is thought of when one thinks of a beehive. They are often used in modern professional beekeeping. Within this hive lives a group of Italian bees, Apis mellifera ligustica who are a popular subspecies of honeybee.

A Top bar hive is one of the oldest and most commonly used hive style in the world and looks a bit like a wooden barbecue. In top bar hives bees build their honeycombs without waxfoundation. They are less convenient for the beekeeper to manage and take care in comparison to the modular style. Within the top bar hive, a new swarm of Carniolan honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica), a subspecies typically known in the central European region, and typical in Croatia, was collected from a woman’s garden by Ina only a few weeks prior. Typically after swarming and being brought into a new hive, honeybees are incredibly active as they bring in food and resource to build out their new home and consolidate their colony. This hive was no exception. It was incredibly active.

With the assistance and consent of our beekeeper Ina, I moved two DPA 4060 microphones in a spaced omnidirectional stereo configuration along with a Sennheiser MKH416 shotgun microphone. The microphones were aimed towards the entry door to the top bar hive at a distance that would not obstruct the entrance. We laid cabling up the bank to a listening station that we set up with two small stools and attached the cables to a Sound Devices Mix-Pre 6 Field Recorder and connected a pair of headphones.

We spent some time listening to different balances between the two microphone setups and found a blend between the two, with the DPAs having a 120Hz high pass filter set on them which allowed their stereo qualities to emerge whilst the mono Sennheiser microphone offered a closeness and clarity to overall sound. My first impressions were that the bees sounded incredibly busy, even at 6pm in the evening.

What followed for the next two hours was really quite incredible. In my beekeeper suit. I would say hello to passers-by, inform them that I was listening to the sounds from a new bee hive recently introduced to the park, and invited them to join me and take a listen. I would then tell them about Bee Company, that I had friends/colleagues wearing beekeeper overalls elsewhere in the park, and encouraged them to find them too. Collectively we aimed to engage with the public and invite them to consider bee ecologies within the park. Most of the people lived nearby, many commented on having seen the hives and wondered what was happening with them. Some of the folk who stopped and listened had also kept bees at various times in the past. One young man, perhaps in his late teens, who was running past and sweating heavily, surprisingly stopped and took a long five minutes catching his breath whilst listening with deep concentration to the hives. He asked many questions about the bees. I felt a bit of an imposter. Whilst I was in a beekeeper suit, listening to bees and inviting people to take part, I am not an apiarist and my specialist knowledge of bees feels quite limited. Over the last two years of engaging in Bee Company I have definitely developed some foundation knowledge in bees that I hope make it possible for me to give accurate information when asked on the basics though.

Another person stopped and began to ask quite directly as to whether I was selling the honey or not. After listening to the bees through the headphones for a few minutes, we then began to engage into a fascinating conversation about whether honeybees are affected by the introduction of 5G wireless electromagnetic signals. The person explained how they were a smartphone user but they were cautious about new wireless signal technologies and what they might be capable of doing to small insect species such as bees. There is a great deal of research produced in particular over the past decade about the effects of electromagnetic signals on honey bees which continue to be inconclusive.

Scale effects of amplified close listening

When I listen to close microphone amplified sounds of honey bee hives, I am often at first quite shocked and slightly disturbed. The sense of being deeply immersed inside a world or vortex of honeybees is quite worrying and arguably counter-evolutionary. However, as I spend time in the intensity, becoming accustomed to it, I begin to be quite entranced and fascinated by the activity that thousands of individuals within a single species, in a single hive, can come together with a single purpose. It is not a sound that matches a harmonic scale. It doesn’t flow with sustained rhythm and meter. But the sound, as chaotic as it is, represents a community finding its way collectively through messy interchanges but ultimately working towards one ultimate goal, flourishing survival of the colony. I think this is something that dawns on people as they listen to a bee hive too. Often they are initially shocked in their response due to the intensity. After all, from the bank you can see that there are hives at the bottom of the hill a few metres away, but you cannot hear bees in any great number. The headphone experience transports the listener down the hill and to the entrance of a huge city. The listening experience is not only a geographical teleportation device but a scalar one. You become reduced in size. Reconfigured at honeybee scale, you become immersed, shocked, terrified and equally enthralled and tranced by the industry of the colony. You can temporarily inhabit the world of those bees, eyes closed, perched upon a stool. Eyes open, you achieve embodied dissonance which allows you to be at once in the hive, part of the collective, and simultaneously a surveyor of the wider scene. It is a moment where you can become aware of being truly part of something bigger than yourself. This is a rare moment for the observer. An encounter that challenges and encourages an appreciation of scale, of energy, industry and collective endeavour that transcends the values of capitalism.

A moment to listen to an encounter that fosters a scalar and temporal shift is my personal rare vision for the performance of Bee Company.

Discussion on barrier tapes around the fallen Oak in Tullisaari

112 Likes, 35 Comments

October 16th @Tullisaari Park.

A writes at https://www.facebook.com/groups/laajasalo

Since this fallen old oak is going to be kept in place, would it be worth building around it a more beautiful fence to replace those plastic strips? The oak will rot there for decades.

B to A: Why do you even need a fence?

C to B: It’s probably to prevent kids from climbing and adults using it as a gym tree, the branches probably won’t last🤔

B to C: The children can climb over the fence, it is not holding anyone if they wanna go to the tree. And especially those strings won’t stop anyone.

C replies to B: Yeah, I haven’t seen anyone inside the strips even though I pass by it every day, parents don’t let their kids go in there.

B to C: In my opinion, those strings are but infinitely ugly. Either let that tree rot without ugly strings or lug it away. Trees fall and die, it’s just the normal cycle. What difference does it make if someone is sitting on a tree trunk or stump. That’s what I’ve been doing since I was a child. The fact that that carcass is in the park is a problem and therefore needs to be fenced, what a life!

C to B: The tree is 200 years old natural memorial, it can’t be compared to every common Spruce.

D to C: The tape doesn’t block anything and it’s ugly. Fortunately, there are still those who understand that you can’t go inside that tape. 100-year-old oak is a rarity in Finland and therefore worth protecting even when it has fallen.

E: Interested in hearing B’s view for this. Can the age of a fallen tree be calculated reasonably? When it decays, how long will the age continue to drop? And doesn’t the decaying process involve the branches breaking and breaking? So what does age matter after a fall?

F: It’s good to have something there to show that there is still a tree that is protected.

G: Would an old-fashioned fence go better than construction site strips?

H: That’s right – those stripy strips are ruining the whole area.

I: Could I grow new oaks!

J to I: There are dozens of little oaks around the oak already.

I to J. Wauu! Nature takes care!

Q: There really could be some more beautiful ribbon or fence, as the intention is to leave the old fallen oak in place to rot.

L: Message to the city park department to go…

M: That should be done.

Photo Ina Niemelä, 27.1.2022 at 9.14 a.m.

N: The lawn in the park is a wrong place for a decaying tree. The tree was protected as it grew, there is no longer a need for protection. It could be moved away from the treated area at least, i.e. somewhere nearby.

O to N: There is a story in this fallen tree. This is not about rotting.

N: I don’t think the story will end gloriously if the tree is left to rot in the middle of an otherwise well-kept park. There is no habit of leaving trees to rot in parks. It would be great if there was a carpenter in Laajasalo who could create a lot of new objects and stories from the wood.

P to N: There may be a little surprise for these protectors and keepers, when the little one is lying quietly, it will soon darken and rot and then it will be nice really nice to look at. And when it comes to carpentry, they’re so expensive guys that there might be no market for chisels or other useful item. I had a grandfather in Hålvik who was a carpenter (pictured with Hilja Matilda) but he moved to his last workshop as early as the 1960s …… [picture of a grandfather with Hilja Matilda].

Q: Crazy. Apartments should be built here because of climate change and the crowd is coming in like never before.

R to Q [GIF where handkerchiefs are handed]

S: Years ago I picked up acorns of ‘Tullisaari’s mighty’, they spent the winter in the fridge and then moved to my cottage, where they grow and become more handsome next to the ‘shelter trees’. :. :.

T: I am in favor of sawing the branches and protecting new seedlings and soon we have an oak forests on the shore – fallen birches and electric poles should be removed though.

U: I understand it’s about nurturing nature, a fallen oak provides a livelihood and a place to live for many amphibians. The human aesthetic eye has a problem; Of course, those plastic strips are ugly. Some real anchor rope, etc. to surround the deadwood?

A: Couldn’t it be sold to a carpenter and it would continue its life, for example, as a table or chairs? The park is not a natural forest where fallen trees are left to fall.

X to V: Good idea. Most of the oak is hardwood that will decay for decades, of course, but is there a need for the resulting CO2 emissions?

Y to V: Maybe the carpenter could make something for the park or for Aino Acte’s villa. A sign next to the removed carcass stating where it has been taken and how it will be used. The branches could be taken across the road to the woods. There are other fallen oaks there as well.

V to Y: Good idea.

Z: Ping Anna Elina Nummi? 🤔 1

Å: It is difficult to estimate which one is less disturbing in the park landscape, the tree or the strips, when it is not a natural area. Both should co to recycling. Really potty decision-making from the Helsinki park department.

Ä: That there is like an ancient giant creature. Let it peacefully rot and refine local biodiversity with its thousands of little helpers who already inhabit it. Birds also benefit from them. Would the obsession with the man fixing, just about everything, give in at this point, and just let this tired giant and his many friends take care of themselves. Its progressive state could then be made into a fine nature documentary, even a study in biology! There could be fairy-tales told of ancient worlds for children and lectures on the hidden life of trees for adults. After all, this old giant has seen what has happened in Tullisaari 300 years ago! So it is not just any timber. Stories from ancient times were told alongside it. A good gathering place for stories. Let’s build around it a traditional wooden fence and a big hut where to gather for stuff..Could we be a little creative for once ..,

Ö: The yellow-red warning tape is collected for recycling and replaced with a new ribbon. The ceremony will be held during Midsummer Week 2022. Best wishes from Bee Company .

  1. Anna Elina Nummi is a project planner for the urban environment of the City of Helsinki.

Honey from Tullisaari

Park/forest/garden/meadow honey from Tullisaari.

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This jar of honey from East Helsinki is a piece of Mehiläisten seura.
Our collective work is interested in artistic work as situated knowledge under the precarious conditions of multispecies livelihoods. This jar can be exchanged for time, conversation, help or money.
Photo Aino Aksenja © 10.10.2020

Bee Company’s honey is urban honey at its best. There are allotments, forest, meadows, gardens, park vegetation, many Salix and Tilias within the radius of 1 km. Especially buzzing were the Frangula alnus bushes in the park. I extracted a set of honey in the beginning of August and due to warm weather a lot more honey was foraged after that, but I decided to leave it for the bees.

Bee Company’s honey won the third price in the harvest fiesta of the Beekeepers of Helsinki. Because there were 14 other contestants with their excellent honeys, I was surprised yet pleased for us. All the honeys awarded were from places with diverse nature.

In the photo above the honey is sitting on the branches of an oak that fell after the Aila storm during the night of the 21st of September, exactly 64 years after the tree was conserved. It’s exact age has not been dated, but it is estimated being approximately 200 years old.

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Photo: Aino Aksenja © 10.10.2020

On an arbour day and on my birthday 27th of September, I took part in a tree tour in Tullisaari park organised by The City of Helsinki. For my great joy I was told by the city’s civil servant Elina Nummi, that the tree will be left to decay where it fell as natural memorial. The amount of species in an oak decaying is multiple to a living one. In Helsinki latitudes it may take nearly 20 years for a large oak to decompose completely.

You can find out more about the natural monuments and (officially acknowledged) ecologically important areas in Helsinki from the Nature Information System.

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10.10.2020 winter food is already dried and capped. Most of the bees are already in a loose cluster around the queen. On warm day some still collect nectar and pollen from the last flowers of autumn.
Photo: Aino Aksenja ©

If you are interested in the honey, contact me!

-Ina