Scanning electron microscope images of the honey bee, Apis mellifera. Image: Dr. James Weaver (Wyss Institute, Harvard University)
The Synthetic Apiary proposes a new kind of environment, bridging urban and organismic scales by exploring one of the most important organisms for both the human species and our planet: bees. Part of the MIT Media Lab, The Mediated Matter Group explore the cohabitation of humans and other species through the creation of a controlled atmosphere and associated behavioral paradigms. The project facilitates Mediated Matter's ongoing research into biologically augmented digital fabrication with eusocial insect communities in architectural, and possibly urban, scales. Many animal communities in nature present collective behaviors known as "swarming," prioritizing group survival over individuals, and constantly working to achieve a common goal. Often, swarms of organisms are skilled builders; for example, ants can create extremely complex networks by tunneling, and wasps can generate intricate paper nests with materials sourced from local areas.
The Barbican's AI: More than Human (16 May-26 Aug 2019) is an major exhibition exploring creative and scientific developments in artificial intelligence demonstrating its potential to revolutionise our lives. Part of Life Rewired, the Barbican's 2019 season exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.