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Yellow book with black images of historic beekeeping hives. Book was written by Aladin and Ellen Lapper (APIAN)

Hives, 2400 B.C.E. – 1852 C.E., Apian (Aladin Borioli, Ellen Lapper) 2020 [2022]

Current location
Year(s) of residency and/or fellowship
2020, Rapid Response Fellow
Aladin Borioli (Apian), Ellen Lapper (Apian), Harry Bloch (Studio Harris Blondman), Joris Landman (Studio Harris Blondman)

Apian is a Ministry of Bees responsible for the relationship between humans and bees. Whereas it was created (2014) – and is still mainly operated – by Aladin Borioli, the use of an alias aims to reveal its inherent collaborative face and encourage future exchanges. Aladin studied Graphic Design at the École d’arts appliqués de La Chaux-de-Fonds and Photography at the University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL), both in Switzerland; Visual and Media Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany; and Critical Philosophy at the New Centre for Research and Practice, cyberspace.

Mixing methods from anthropology and philosophy with the practice of art and beekeeping, Apian explores the age-old interspecies relationship humans have developed with bees. Via polymorphous ethnographies combining photography, videos, sounds, and writing, it offers a refuge to encounter bees on a more egalitarian basis. Ultimately, Apian is a site for meeting around shared sensibilities with scholars, artists, and beekeepers to think of post-capitalist beekeeping practices and socially engaged relationships with the Earth.

Apian has exhibited at and been supported by various arts and academic institutions such as Eyebeam, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK), La Becque, Pro Helvetia, ICA (London), the BBC, NTS Radio, the Photographers’ Gallery, AnthroVision (journal of visual anthropology), (journal of photography), Centre d’Art Neuchâtel (CAN), CTM Festival, Images Vevey, CAIRN Centre d’Art, Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI), among others. In 2020, Apian published Hives 2400 B.C.E. – 1852 C.E. (RVB/Images Vevey, 2020 [2022]) – a visual atlas of the beehive.

Rapid Response Project

The Intimacy Machine (2020) is a digital artwork and web platform exploring the age-old interspecies relationship between bees and humans. It presents a multi-dimensional artist-led ethnographic study on the effect of emerging for-profit technologies utilized within the world of beekeeping. The work points to the broader implications of these interventions across the larger agricultural industry, and offers a blueprint or call for technology that takes into account the perspective of bees and knowledge collected over thousands of years of human and bee relationships. How can technology open up opportunities for more intimate and thorough interspecies relationships?

Visit The Intimacy Machine Platform here.

About the Collaborators

Aladin Borioli (Apian), he/him

b. 1988, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Based in London, UK, and Bevaix, Switzerland

Ellen Lapper

Ellen Lapper (she/her, b. 1989, Croydon, UK) is a British-born, London-based visual anthropologist, artist, and researcher, largely engaging in participatory projects across different mediums. Her research explores identity construction and placemaking – within postcolonial studies, online personas, and the digital afterlife, with the latter published under How has social media changed the way we grieve? (transcript 2017). Her interest in the visual largely manifests as film, with recent contributions to the RAI Film Festival 2023 and 2019, Atelier no. 66 in Essen 2022, Athens Ethnographic Film Festival 2020, and Forecast Forum Berlin 2019. She has been collaborating with Apian since 2019, presenting work at Eyebeam 2021, Musikfestival Berlin 2021, and the ICA London 2020 and together with Aladin Borioli, she co-authored the introduction to Hives 2400 B.C.E. – 1852 C.E. (RVB/Images Vevey, 2020 [2022]). Ellen holds a BA in Fine Art (International) from the University of Leeds and completed a MA in Visual And Media Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2017. She also works as a translator from German to English in the fields of contemporary art and anthropology.

Studio Harris Blondman

Studio Harris Blondman (Based in Amsterdam, Netherlands) is the award-winning graphic design studio of Joris Landman and Harry Bloch. The Dutch-Swiss, Amsterdam-based studio works at the cutting edge of graphic tradition and digital experimentation, combining classic editorial and design knowledge with new media expertise and creative coding.

Studio Harris Blondman designs and makes identities, campaigns, print, magazines, books, exhibitions, and especially motion graphics, apps, websites, and screen-based projects for international commissioners, from the creative and academic fields to the commercial sector.

Harry and Joris combine their joint studio practice with various teaching and research positions, initiate projects and events, give talks and write.

Lecturing, workshops and research including at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences/HvA (NL), ArtEZ University of the Arts (NL), Lectorate Art & Public Space/LAPS (NL), Leiden University (NL), Master Institute of Visual Cultures/AKV St. Joost (NL), The New Institute/HNI (NL), Royal Academy of Art The Hague/KABK (NL), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne/EPFL (CH), University of the Arts Bremen/HfK Bremen (DE), De Vrolijkheid (NL), Winchester School of Art (UK).

Exhibitions including at Design in Motion Festival/DEMO (NL), Eyebeam Art & Technology Center (US), Graphic Days Torino (IT), International Poster & Graphic Design Festival Chaumont (FR), Kunsthalle Bern (CH), Meta Festival (DE), Het Nieuwe Instituut/HNI (NL), Swiss Design Awards at Art Basel (CH).

Commissioners include Adidas (DE), Amsterdam Fund for the Arts/AFK (NL), Aspect Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities Network (UK), Bern University of the Arts/HKB (CH), Bos Ice Tea (SA), City of Amsterdam (NL), Doctors without Borders/MSF (CH), Embassy of Switzerland in Mexico (MX), Geneva University of Art & Design/HEAD (CH), KesselsKramer (NL/UK), London School of Economics & Political Science/LSE (UK), Maarten Spruyt (NL), Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport/VWS (NL), MU Hybrid Art House (NL), Nineties (NL), The Photographers’ Gallery/TPG (UK), Royal Theater Carré (NL), Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam/SMBA (NL), Submarine (NL/USA), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne/EPFL (CH), TRQSE (NL), University of Arts Lausanne/ECAL (CH), University of Geneva/UNIGE (CH), University of Lausanne/UNIL (CH), University of Neuchâtel/UniNE (CH), University of Southampton (UK), University of the Arts Bremen/HfK Bremen (DE), Van Gogh Museum (NL), Vlisco (NL), De Vrolijkheid (NL).

Harry Bloch

Harry Bloch (he/him) is a graphic designer based in Amsterdam, and co-founder of Studio Harris Blondman. In addition, Harry teaches in the Departments of Graphic Design and Media & Interaction Design at the University of Art and Design Lausanne/ECAL (CH).

Joris Landman

Joris Landman (they/them) is a graphic designer based in Amsterdam, and co-founder of Studio Harris Blondman. In addition, Joris teaches in the Photography Department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (NL) and is a member of the Advisory Committees for Design and Talent Development of the Creative Industries Fund NL/​Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie (NL).

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