The Other Side / L'autre côté

June 19, 2019, 17:00, Geneva, Rue des Rois

Noting these tokens and examples some have said that a share of divine intelligence is in bees, and a draught of aether…

Virgil. Georgics, Book IV, AD 29

Our curiosity and our need to understand other forms of intelligence have brought about, among other interests, the study of the life of bees in different centuries and cultures. There is a striking number of thinkers who have shown an interest in the ingenuity and the extraordinary capacities of bees, in addition to the properties of honey, propolis, and wax for healing and as preservatives. Naturalists since Aristotle have dedicated interminable hours to make science of them. Since ancient times, these insects have also been associated with immortality and the ability to communicate across parallel worlds.

The Cemetery of Kings is renowned for the famous individuals of Geneva that have been buried there for hundreds of years. During the summer 2019 they will be accompanied by the audible record of bees, who will guide visitors on a tour down the cemetery’s paths, through the thoughts of eight authors from different countries and centuries.

Listening to the writings sensitises to understand that the bees are embedded in our natural environments, lifecycles and cultures so profoundly and in such subtle ways, that their significance is often being ignored, until they recently started vanishing from our lives.

The literary excerpts, selected to The Other Side, lead us to wonder: Where do bees go when they ‘disappear’? What is the message they are sending us from the past to the present? How will that message be interpreted in a future or parallel world? Is our intelligence capable of finding answers to all these questions?

This third edition of The Other Side is dedicated to the extraordinary naturalist François Huber, who was born in Geneva in 1750. In spite being blind, he made groundbreaking discoveries regarding the magical and mysterious life of the bee.

The Other Side is an artwork by Ulla Taipale, created in the framework of Melliferopolis -Honeybees in Urban Environments project. It is shown in Geneva as a part of 1000 Ecologies, a project by Utopiana and supported by the Cantonal Office of Culture and Sport, State of Geneva, the Municipal Fund of Contemporary Art, City of Geneva, Funeral Service, Cemeteries and Crematorium (SPF), City of Geneva, Frame Contemporary Art Finland, the Cultural Activities of the University of Geneva, as well as the Wilsdorf Foundation.

This project has been made in collaboration with: Andrés Marín Jarque for the Sign illustrations; with Barbara Baker (French), Kira O’Reilly (English), Andrés Marín Jarque (Spanish) and Emilia Esteban Langstaff (Catalan) for the readings; Kirill Lorech, Mikko Viskari, Pierluigi Barberis and University of Geneva for the Recordings and editing; Alexandre Papaloïzos for the Installation; and Christian Bili for the Graphic design.

The earlier editions of The Other Side were shown in Helsinki (2016) as part of Melliferopolis Fest, and in 2018 commissioned by Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, as a part of Beehave exhibition.


The Other Side will take place at the Cemetery of Kings in Geneva between the 20th of June and the 10th of October 2019. 

Instructions for a visitor:

In The Other Side, a smartphone app allows visitors to listen to fragments of literary works which illustrate the role played by bees in the writings of the great thinkers during the course of history.

To enter The Other Side audio space, please follow these instructions:

  • Download the free Arilyn app onto your smart device from the App Store or Google Play.
  • You will find X signs installed in the cemetery, marked on the map.
  • Printed maps are available at the entrance of the cemetery.
  • Scan a sign with your smartphone to activate a recording, available in four languages: French, English, Spanish and Catalan.