Cath Keay will be constructing four beehives in the form of Modernist and Brutalist architecture from Middlesbrough and Teeside. The completed hives will be sited in the area and maintained by local beekeepers, groups and individuals who are attending courses ran by Cleveland Beekeepers Association (www.teesbees.co.uk). An exhibition, live ‘Hive’ webcam and limited editions including ‘make your own beehive’ will be produced in order to encourage the growing interest in beekeeping and promote awareness of nature in our urban environments. ‘This landscape is punctuated by remnants of grand visions and laudable ambitions. This project reassesses these structures; their perceived brutalism will be tempered by their change of scale and their re-colonisation by the natural world.’
This project is supported by Middlesbrough Council through the Percent for Art Scheme. Collaborators and project supporters include Navigator North, MIMA and East Street Arts. The wider Factory Nights programme is funded by Arts Council England. Factory Nights aims to activate places and promote more diverse and relevant public art projects. Read the brand new Factory Nights publication here.
Statement from Cath Keay
I will construct four beehives in the form of Modernist architecture from Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas. This landscape is punctuated by remnants of grand visions and laudable ambitions. This project reassesses these structures; their perceived brutalism will be tempered by their change of scale and their re-colonisation by the natural world.
Industrious colonies of worker bees prompt endless metaphorical interpretations of our own society. However, it is the insects’ architectural abilities that particularly interest me: they follow strict building regulations including east-west alignments of new built comb, regular bee-space corridors ensure easy passage, and all constructions show an astonishing economy of material resources. The modularity of modernist architecture has strong parallels in what is required for beehives, to enable empty units (called ‘supers’) to be added to accommodate a growing population.