The Story Hive Project (2010-2021) Mixed Media (cardboard, tracing paper, photocopies, ink, paint, marker, matte medium), 24”x20”x44”
This sculptural Story Hive was collaged together from models originally developed for the eco-art project designed by Beverly Naidus called “Eden Reframed.” Eden Reframed lives in the Burton Skate Park on Vashon Island and opened to the public in 2011. The project was funded by UW’s Royalty Research Fund and was created with lots of input from permaculture designersas well as labor and support from the community. The project offers the community a “food forest,” a soil remediation demonstration bed, and a “Story Hive.” In the original version of this concept, gardeners and farmers were asked to contribute stories about what inspires them to plant seeds in a time of ecocide. The Story Hive became an archival space for harvesting the honey of the community. Stakeholders for Eden Reframed have come and gone over the years. At times the food forest suffered from the effects of drought and lack of human care. Still the more than human, particularly birds, bees, and other critters, have continued to enjoy it. After ten years of existence, the Story Hive is weathered, but it is still accessible to the community. Photos of Eden Reframed can be viewed at http://www.beverlynaidus.net
Naidus returned to the Story Hive concept during the 2020-21 pandemic. Last year, she suggested the possibility of creating a new story hive in her neighborhood to her next-door neighbors who then offered part of their property as a site to build one. This corner site, at a busy intersection, sits across the street from the free food table on their block. After several months of inspiring collaboration with over a dozen neighbors, the Tacoma Story Hive is almost complete. This interactive sculptural work invites members of the community and folks walking by to share stories about how the pandemic has affected them and their dreams of how we might co-create a more just and ecological world in this time of great change. It is hoped that the project will help to grow a more resilient and interdependent community and inspire mutual aid. More images and information can be found at https://www.tacomastoryhive.com/ .
In November-December 2021, as part of Naidus’s exhibition, The Dead Ocean Scrolls and Other Possible Futures, a new configuration of the story hive models was installed as an interactive sculpture. Visitors to the Tacoma Community College Gallery were invited to share their stories about how they have navigated the pandemic, what challenges they have faced, and what they are imagining for the world we can now co-create in this time of collapse. Visitors wrote down their stories and dreams, and left them anonymously or signed, as they chose, somewhere in the sculptural hive. Visitors were also invited to read the stories that were left behind. Some of the hundreds of stories that were left are visible here.
Video of our street drawing intervention adjacent to the Tacoma Story Hive, July 31, 2022. Drone footage and editing by Ron Perillo
During the pandemic, Naidus spoke with her neighbors, Lauren and Britt Greene, about building a story hive on the corner of the intersection, on their property. They were excited to do this, so Naidus created a flyer and invited neighbors from the surrounding blocks to come and meet and discuss how to collaborate on the design and building of our Tacoma Story Hive. www.tacomastoryhive.com In the summer of 2021, the story hive was built. Its last layer will be completed in August 2022. The hive is being used actively, and every day more stories are added and read. In July 2022, the story hive team decided to do a thematically related street mural to create more community interaction and to inspire people to develop a plan for slowing traffic at our busy intersection either via a painted street mandala or a traffic island. Our chalk drawing intervention was documented via drone video by neighbor, jazz pianist, composer, and video editor, Ron Perillo.