Immersive Hive

In collaboration with

Barbara Keating (Chair of Tyneside Beekeepers Association)

Exhibited at

'Great North Museum'

Project Date

March 2018

Touch-sensing Bees, Pollen and Honey!

This interioractive space was designed as a honey-sticky and multi-sensory experience (visual, audio, tactile plus honey-wax smell and taste!)

When displayed in the Great North Museum, it received great feedback and huge engagement from museum visitors who got to interact with the tactile educational wall panels.

Accordingly, BacterioChromic visualizes the unseen interaction between people and the microscopic members of our ecology. The motivation behind it is the fact that bacteria do adapt themselves to the environment by developing antimicrobial resistance to our treatment drugs as their means to survive. Yet, we still lack the awareness, knowledge and actions required to such rise in antimicrobial resistance.

Design Concept

The Immersive Hive was designed as touch-sensitive human-size hive-like wall panels, where people can wander about and interact with its soft squeeze-sensing pollen and honey-sticky hexagons, both reacting in sensational & informative audio feedback about the mysterious life inside the hive in bees' voices.

The audio feedback was first-person narrations of the bees talking about their roles and lives, recorded by both adults and children in the same age of the bees, in years rather than days. For instance, a five-year old child performed the voice of the five-day old bee egg, and a 10 year-old child performed the voice of the 10 days old larva, etc.

The tactility was implemented using capacitive touch sensing behind every bee in the wall panel, and behind the (real) honey wax hexagon, and threaded within the "pollen" using conductive threads.

The aim was to provide people with an immersive experience to see, touch, hear, taste, smell and learn about the diverse and often overlooked relationship we have with our buzzing apini friends.

This work has been supported by Tyne & Wear Archives and Museum’s TNT (Try New Things) Action Research programme and produced in collaboration with Tyneside Beekeepers Association and Newcastle University Openlab.