Un-dividing the House Favorite 



May 26 1989



About 6 months before the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, installation artist Marc Thompson began conceptualizing and constructing an installation that would reflect the absurdities of the divided city. Thompson´s work was part of the Ressource Kunst exhibition.

Using nature as its main resource, Thompson worked with wild honeybees that were tracked within a 5-mile area of East and West Berlin then caught, fed and released. This process involved cooperation of a variety of people and beekepers from both sides of the city. One of the most significant collaborations was established between the artist and Herr Pickard, a beekeeper from West Berlin.

Thompson chose an early 1800s hospital, the Kunstlerthaus Bethanien, which was right next to the border in West Berlin. In the abandoned ward, the artist placed a Live-in Hive –a glass walled beehive (wooden box with glass and metal walls) in which he inserted his head thus interacting with the bees. A swarm of honeybees raised in Pickard´s backyard was placed inside the Live-in Hive and allowed, through a wire tube, to exist the glass walled beehive in order to gather nectar and pollen from flowers both in the East and West sides of the Wall.

Bees flowed naturally from one side of the wall to the other, showing that both sides were not only naturally connected but could also work together. Thompson described the installation as “a city architecture of living walls of honeycomb fused together from the flowers of two Berlins”. Through the material coexistence of Thompson and the bees, and the insect´s free flow from one side of Berlin to the other the artist intended to show ,creatively, the possibility of building bridges between two cites, of un-dividing the wall-divided city.

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