Horologium Florae, Horologium Apum
Succus Aevi, Miró Foundation
Barcelona, Spain, 2018

project with Vadim de Grainville

Lat. Flower clock. Bee clock. Time Juice.

The biological time garden is a physical space that contains two chronobiological clocks and entices visitors to wander through the history and mythology of chronobiology.

These two chronobiological devices, flower and bee clocks, serve as an invitation to contemplate the most ancient of clocks, the internal timing instrument possessed by almost all living organisms on Earth. Importantly, these two clocks are synchronized through the feeding function of bees that coevolved with flowering plants.

The two clocks remind us that everything and everyone on Earth is inter-connected and has the same weight in the eyes of Time.

Petra Kelly Gardens
The design of the Horologium Florae is inspired by the Carl Linnaeus’ Flower Clock of the mid 18th century.
12 colour coded flower containers are positioned in an array around the garden.
Each container corresponds to one type of flower, and hence one hour of the day.

The design of the Horologium Apum is largely inspired by the 1929 research on the time sense of honey bees by German ethologist and first female chronobiologist, Ingeborg Beling.

Twelve groups of bees are trained to feed at different times of the day. These intervals correspond more or less to the opening times of selected flowers. To distinguish the bees and the hours they represent the bees are tagged on the thorax with numbered color-coded disks.

The color coding of the flower pots and bees use a synaethetic approach to honor two prominent Russian entomologists - Vladimir Nabokov and baron Osten Sacken, both of whom would involuntarily see letters and numbers as colours.
The final colors were based on the synesthetic equivalence that CC Hart has between color and time.
The time-trained bees produce honey from the flower clock, that becomes, in effect, the Concentrate of Time.
Room 20 Miró Foundation
A drawing of a biological time garden presents an overall vision for a physical space that contains symbols, markers and references from the history and mythology of chronobiology. For example, the center of the garden is filled with a big flowering Tamarind tree, referring to the first written account of the circadian clock by Androsthenesof Tasos, the Admiral of Alexandre the Great, 4thcentury BC. Just under the tree there is a small circular breakfast table and two chairs of Auguste Forel, who made the first observation of the feeding time of bees.
An alchemical retort containing the Time Juice sits above a pedestal engraved with the phrase ‘Edite ut de tempore placemini’ or “Eat that you may become at peace with Time”.
A performance ‘induction’ took place in which visitors absorbed this insect-flower circadian movement at an unconscious level while tasting the Time Juice.

A series of collages, called Period, supports the key underlying thought of the chronobiological garden – the triumph of similarity over superficial division. Its name comes from the period gene, the very gene that regulates internal clocks of all living beings.
Images and video of the field research in the nearby Montjuic grounds show the process of creating a proof of concept study of Linnaeus’s and Beling’s theories, as well as the Time Juice.

Time Garden illustration: in collaboration with Katie Scott
Time Juice retort design: Gabriele Pezzini
Fonts: Jake Noakes
Botanical Field Research: Susana Mangas
Bee Trainer: Steve Rogenstein
Synaesthetic hour-colour correspondence: CC Hart
Photos courtesy of: Beehave de la Fundació Joan Miró © Barcelona. Foto: Pere Pratdesaba