Preamble

Bees uphold the ecosystems we depend on every day, yet we repay them by destroying their habitats, smothering them in pesticides and globalising parasites that threaten entire colonies.

The beecoin project is an experiment in recoding the community as organisation – one in which our relationship with bees is symbiotically reinforced and the relations of our shared environments reconfigured. Open-source sensoring kits generate data from bee hives and a crypto-economic system redefines the inherent value of the reproduction of colonies. This project invites anyone to become a vanguard beekeeper, DAOist shareholder or simply a curious supporter.

Join the DAO

Want to become a Bee-Daoist? Join the community!

Read our manual on how to become a member.
Visit our Web Application to give you your token tribute.

© Victoria Tomaschko

Get a kit

Want to monitor the well-beeing of your bees? Get a kit!

The beecoin project uses open-source monitoring kits developed by Hiveeyes. If you are interested in obtaining a kit yourself, please contact us over our Telegram Group. We will guide you through the process of receiving a kit as part of the research project Bee Observer BOB, a project by the Cognitive Neuroinformatics Group of the University of Bremen and Hiveeyes.

© Victoria Tomaschko

Exhibition

The first hive nodes are at Haus der Statistik in Berlin.

Visit them at Haus der Statistik, Haus D, second floor.
See the first sensored hives at Haus der Statistik during the guided tours of STATISTA

© Victoria Tomaschko

Workshops

Gain new perspectives on honey bees in urban society. Join our workshops by Moabees at HDS and ZKU.

Sensing Bees, Workshops

As part of The Beecoin Project the artist and beekeeper collective Moabees arranges visits to the beehives at Haus der Statistik. An examination of the sensors installed in the hives, the human organs of perception and the bee’s compound eye. The hives’ surroundings are scanned by means of a bee camera. Artefacts from the house and courtyard are collected and recorded by the photochemical process of cyanotype. Ultraviolet (sun) light – usually invisible to the human eye – is used to expose the cyanotypes. Bees are able to see UV light and use it to detect blossoms.

Limited spaces available, registration required at MOABEES@ZKU-BERLIN.ORG

© Victoria Tomaschko

History

The beecoin project was borne within STATISTA, a cooperative project between ZK/U, Center for Art and Urbanistics, and KW, Institute for Contemporary Art. Using its historical location – Haus der Statistik at Alexanderplatz in Berlin – as the point of departure, STATISTA investigates models of cooperation in the field of urban development, which aim to maximise public welfare and undermine private profit maximisation. The project develops artistic prototypes for an urban society based on common property. Prototypes that remain responsive to the participation of the diverse parties involved, but are built to make a lasting change. 

As one of these prototypes, the beecoin project expands the notion of common property as the reproduction of a species we depend on daily to uphold our ecosystems – bees. The project builds on the research of Hiveeyes, a project based in Berlin developing monitoring infrastructure and DIY toolkits running on open-source software, affordable hardware and wireless telemetry. Thus beecoin began as the proposition to build an organisational crypto-economic structure on top of Hiveeyes’ open source hardware platforms.

© Victoria Tomaschko

Mission

The loss of bees is a phenomenon making its mark globally, particularly in North America and Europe. In North America, the loss of 30-40% of commercial honeybee colonies is tied to a syndrome called “colony collapse disorder”, while in Europe the loss of honeybee colonies since 1985 is estimated at 25%.  These statistics only represent the tip of the iceberg. Honeybees are the species best documented, standing in stark contrast to the poor documentation of wild bee populations. Yet scientific research shows that a diversity of wild bee species is paramount for sustainable crop production. The complexity of issues surrounding the livelihood of bees is difficult to penetrate and even more difficult to conquer if not collectively. As such, what beecoin addresses is the need for a process that may collectively find an answer to the difficult question of how to better the predicament we inextricably find ourselves in – in relation to bees.

Within this process, the main aim is to create an organisational structure which incentivises beekeeping and data gathering for further research, acting as a catalyst for community driven action. Starting small from a handful of honeybee hives, the aim is to bring together human and non-human actors in a different constellation, distributing resources so that small individual contributions can ripple into larger collective areas of impact. Can the care of one honeybee colony at Haus der Statistik spawn the explosive propagation of colonies around the city, or contribute to research into better conditions for wild bee populations in urban spaces?

© Victoria Tomaschko

Prototype

The initial concepts for beecoin still pursued the want of an alternative currency, one that would run against the stream of FIAT systems to create an economic sphere with autonomous exchange. A token bound to the value produced by honey, or a token generated by the steady reproduction of the beehive. Yet as the project progressed, beecoin became the shell from which a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation peeled.

Using smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain to automate administrative tasks, the first prototype of the DAO surfaces as a general social agreement programmed as protocol: bettering the conditions for bees. However, building the public infrastructure to fulfil the goal often transcends the agency of any individual, not least because the short-term benefit for the individual pales against the long-term benefit generated to the community. Using The Moloch DAO – created to contribute to the development of ETH 2.0 – as template, the proposed “Minimum Viable DAO” encodes a guild as self-governing funding body.

© Victoria Tomaschko

About

The beecoin-project is a project by artists, biologists, engineers, programmers and bees.

Hiveeyes
www.hiveeyes.org
Hiveeyes is a project run by a community of beekeepers that started in 2011. Building on the principles of “open source, open hardware and a friendly community”, they are developing toolkits for beehive monitoring, aiming to make non-invasive beekeeping as affordable and comfortable as possible. The core backend components don’t depend on any 3rd-party services, and the system runs on the shared platform or also self-contained on RasperryPi or System-on-a-Chip computer.

Nascent
nascent.energy
Nascent is a production studio founded by Paul Seidler and Max Hampshire, building Minimal Viable Tech (MVT) solutions for institutional or private actor infrastructure. Building on their research on network resilience, countereconomics, eco-tech, and cryptocurrencies, Nascent also consults on tactics and strategies for building p2p economies.

KUNSTrePUBLIK
www.kunstrepublik.de
KUNSTrePUBLIK has been active as artist collective in public space for more than ten years. Its practice explores the potentials and limits of art as a means of communication and representation for the diverse interests in the public sphere. The work of KUNSTrePUBLIK develops from the specific spatial and social situation and creates intersections between the arts, architecture, spatial theory and political discourse. The team of KUNSTrePUBLIK was supported by Stephanie Holl-Trieu in research, coordination, conceptual development and production of the beecoin project.

Moabees
moabienen.berlin-bienenstadt.de
Since 2013, Moabees have been conjoining practices from the fields of beekeeping, the culinary arts, architecture, vivid imagination and playful exploration in artistic processes. Moabees is a project by Elisa Dierson, Bärbel Rothhaar, and Katja Marie Voigt. The pilot project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The beecoin project is funded by the Berlin Senate Office for Culture and Europe.

© Victoria Tomaschko

Imprint

KUNSTrePUBLIK e.V.
Siemensstr. 27
10551 Berlin

Tel.: +49 30 39885840
Fax.: +49 30 39885841
zku(at)kunstrepublik.de

Design:
Johannes Wilke
johanneswilke.net

© Victoria Tomaschko