Hivecubator is a hive-based incubator designed to care for living tissues grown in-vitro. The project seeks to explore broader issues of interspecies-hospitality, and non-technoscientific forms of caring for various forms of ‘lab-life.’ The project is largely inspired by the DIY incubator work of Andrew Pelling during his residency at SymbioticA, and attempts to extend the DIY incubator concept by exploiting a beehive’s ability to self-regulate CO2 (Seeley, 1974) and Heat (Stabentheiner, Kovac, and Brodschneider, 2010) to analogous conditions needed to grow mammalian tissue in-vitro.
Hivecubator was commissioned by the Kenpoku Arts Festival, and was created in dialogue with Tissue Culture and Art (Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr), and their project Compostcubator. Both incubators were installed together as part of the collaborative installation Vessels of Care and Control. During the Kenpoku Festival, the beehive was regularly inspected, and at one point attacked by native bee-killing wasps (Vespa mandarinia japonica), underscoring the inherent complexities of care, control, hospitality, and hostility when dealing with living systems.
Special thanks to Watanabe Apiary Co., Ltd., Satoyama Yado Tokiwaji, Suwa Pottery Studio, Devon Ward, Yukiko Shikata, Hirofumi Nakamoto, and Aruma Toyama.
Incubator prototypes Hivecubator (left) and Compustcubator (right) .