Our Friends the Pollinators (2011 - ongoing)
In Our Friends the Pollinators kids, youths and adults build homes for pollinators such as honey bees, wild bees, bumble bees and butterflies. Honey bees are great pollinators, however recent studies have shown that wild pollinators such as solitary bees, bumble bees and butterflies often are even more important for efficient pollination. Unfortunately honey bees are having a tough time and many species of wild pollinators are on the decline.
One of several contributing factors to the demise of wild pollinators are the disappearance of their habitats. In some cases their situation can be improved by constructing various houses for them. However, constructing a pollinator house can be a good idea even if it isn't strictly necessary.
"If backyard bugwatchers become engaged with the interactions they see in their gardens, they might become stronger advocates for keeping highway medians herbicide-free, for assuring that only biological control agents are used to manage pests on food crops and for establishing corridors linking protected areas." - The Forgotten Pollinators, S. L. Buchmann and G. P. Nabhan
Here is A Brief Guide To Building Houses for Wild Pollinators.
At Färgfabriken within the exhibition Stockholm on the Move (above) we made houses for solitary bees out of reed, paper straws and used milk cartons and arranged a seminar around pollinators and ecosystem services in cities. Participants in the seminar were Erik Sjödin (artist and researcher), Karolina Lisslö (biologist and urban beekeeper), Maria Bergström (biologist and nature guide) and Jonas Torsvall (architect).
The photos above are from an art camp for kids arranged in collaboration with Tensta konsthall at Eggeby gård in Stockholm. During the weeklong camp the participants built houses for solitary bees which are now permanently placed on the farm and inhabited by bees. They also seeded a meadow and learned about beekeeping.
At the spring farming day at Hästa gård (a public farm in Stockholm) we made houses for solitary bees by drilling holes in pieces of wood from trees that had been cut down at the farm.
"The multidimensional inhabiting of space with critters is the name of wealth and is the name of making a living. You can't talk about capital, you can't talk about land, you can't talk about labor without having a multispecies affair." - Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble or Becoming with Creatures of Empire
Our Friends the Pollinators has been shown at Hästa gård (SE) in May 2012, at Färgfabriken (SE) in November 2012 - March 2013 and at Eggeby gård from 2014.
It has been realized by Erik Sjödin with the help of Hästa gård, a public farm in Stockholm (SE), the contemporary art and architecture space Färgfabriken in Stockholm (SE), The Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm (SE), Karin Ahrné at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala (SE), Sergio Montero Bravo and The Interior Architecture and Furniture Design Programme at Konstfack in Stockholm (SE), and Tensta konsthall, Eggeby gård, and Sundbybergs och Spångaortens biodlareförening i Stockholm (SE).