Pollinators are nature's little heroes who ensure biodiversity in the environment and are responsible for a variety of our favourite foods. But how does pollination work? What role do bees, butterflies and others play? And what if there are fewer and fewer insects? The family-friendly pop-up exhibition in the BIOTOPIA Lab is all about the seductive interplay between flowers and pollinators - and their importance for our lives on a local and global level. It can be seen at the BIOTOPIA Lab from 7 July to 31 December 2023!
Using insects and other pollinators as examples, the exhibition interactively illustrates the extent to which pollinators and flowers are symbiotically connected and how ingeniously they communicate with each other. How do bees or hummingbirds perceive flowers and how does "the language of flowers" work? Using smells, acoustic signals, colour filters, electrostatic attraction and much more, visitors of all ages can immerse themselves in the role of pollinators and see things that are invisible to us. Those who want to try an insect flight over a flower meadow can slip into the role of a butterfly with the VR flight simulator "Birdly".
In a playful way, the exhibition thus addresses the amazing abilities of pollinators and explains their similarities and differences. Two larger-than-life models - a honey bee and a wild bee - by insect model builder Julia Stoess (see photo) show the enlarged anatomy of bees and illustrate why they are such effective pollinators. In addition, numerous objects from Bavaria's State Natural Science Collections (SNSB) shed light on the diversity of pollinator families. And demonstrate how important the collections are in documenting changes in our natural world.
In addition to scientific aspects, the exhibition also integrates artistic and future-oriented design perspectives: Matilde Boelhouwer's works, for example, are inspired by nature and raise the question of whether artificial flowers can also attract bees.
Exciting complementary programmes such as the open and free weekend workshops in the BIOTOPIA Lab complete the small but fine pop-up exhibition. A visit to the parallel exhibition "Natural History of Flowers: Beautiful, Diverse and Sexy" (29 June - 10 September 2023) at the Munich-Nymphenburg Botanical Garden is also recommended.
"Pollinators - Nature's Little Heroes" is part of the city-wide "Flower Power Festival Munich 2023".
The exhibition was made possible by the Deutsche Telekom Foundation.
Our last installation revolved around the scent of extinct plants. The installation "Resurrecting the Sublime" by Christina Agapakis, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and Sissel Tolaas allowed visitors to smell extinct flowers that have been eradicated by colonial activities. The exhibition not only offered an unexpected glimpse into what has been lost, but also challenged us to reflect on our own actions...
The sublime of experiencing nature: reduced by human hands to fragile remnants in a herbarium, the sensory revival of this long-extinct plant revealed not only the romantic experience of the immense beauty of nature, but also the irrevocable consequences of our human actions – now and in the future.
Sitting on granite stones, visitors to the BIOTOPIA Lab were able to take in the smell of Leucadendron grandiflorum (Salisb.) R. Br. emanating from a scent booth. A brief visualization graphically approximated the plant's habitat. Originally native to Africa, this shrub was last seen as a living plant in 1806 in the garden of a private collector in London. Since then, it has been considered extinct.
More than a century later, scientists have extracted "olfactory genes" from the fragile remains. With their help, Sissel Tolaas was able to reconstruct how the extinct shrub might have smelled. Nevertheless, the plant remains irretrievably lost, a fact that the sensory experience of "Resurrecting the Sublime" directly conveys to visitors. The extinction of species thus becomes downright tangible and raises the question of how it came about and how we will deal with it. In addition to the installation, a six-minute documentary film explained the genesis of the artwork.
To date, the installation "Resurecting the Sublime" has been on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Architecture Biennale in Venice, and the Natural History Museum in Bern.
„Components of Identity“
What are genes? Can my experiences change my DNA - for example, an environmental disaster, a war or a refugee experience? A group of 12 young people between the ages of 14 and 24, who were born in Munich, moved here or came as refugees to Munich, spent six months examining these questions - coached by YouthNet and scientists from the cooperation partners BIOTOPIA Lab and the Institute for Human Genetics of the TUM at Klinikum rechts der Isar. A special exhibition at BIOTOPIA Lab provided insights into their experiences and thoughts.
FUNGI FOR FUTURE
When you think of mushrooms, you might think of the typical mushrooms in the forest, like here: but mushrooms have a lot more to offer!
The first exhibition in the BIOTOPIA Lab dealt with the (in)visible power of fungi. Like plants and animals, they form their own kingdom in nature.
The world of fungi is immensely diverse. It is estimated that there are up to 3.8 million species of fungi-over 90 per cent of which may still be unknown. Fungi are present everywhere in our environment: we inhale fungal spores floating in the air with every breath, they can be found in our bodies and on our skin, as mould on fruit and in buildings, as yeast in beer and bread, as a widely branched mycelium network under the earth or in lichens on trees and stones.
Fungi can be harmful and cause serious diseases in plants, animals and people. At the same time, life as we know it would not be possible without them: as decomposers, they convert organic waste back into the cycle of life.
Humans have always made use of fungi in many ways and are still discovering more and more species in this largely unexplored realm of organisms. This leads to promising applications for our future, such as new materials that could replace plastics and open up a path to an oil-free future.
"Veiled Lady III" stool, inspired by a stinkhorn © Studio Klarenbeek & Dros.
Lichen is a symbiotic community of fungi and green algae and / or cyanobacteria.
Curation: Tanja Seiner
Exhibition Design Konstantin Landuris Studio
Illustrations Miro Poferl, HEYmiro
Botanical State Collection Munich (SNSB-BSM), Carole Collet,
Georg Dünzl (Verein für Pilzkunde München e.V.),
Technical University of Berlin - Department of Applied and Molecular Microbiology, Patrick Hickey, nat-2 ™, Mogu,
Mehling & Wiesman, Merlin Sheldrake,
Studio Klarenbeek & Dros, V. Meer, Zvnder / Nina Fabert
With an exciting hands-on program, the BIOTOPIA Lab can also be experienced at home. Instructions, experiments and do-it-yourself concepts bring "hands-on science" into your own four walls. BIOTOPIA Lab@Home awakens interest in scientific relationships and provides inspiration for young and old. It gives a taste of the activities in the BIOTOPIA Lab - from bottle gardens or growing your own mushrooms to isolating DNA from vegetables or fruit. Browse the website and find the right experiment for you!
Menzinger Str. 67
80638 München, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-411
Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-422
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