Beeholder - Beecoin

(c) Tomaschko, 2021

Decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) inspired by the idea of self-governance of non-human stakeholders


Due to their complex social organization, bees have been emblematic of social policy since antiquity. Aristotle described these "state-forming" creatures as political, asserting that labor is exclusively a collective endeavor. The beehive exists as a cybernetic entity. However, the diminished biodiversity of bees reflects an accumulated human collapse, pulsating amidst depressed living environments, pesticide loads, globalized parasites, and a superindustrialized agriculture.

Against this backdrop, the Beeholder - Beecoin project stands out at the intersection of artistic creation, urban activism, crypto-economic design, and beekeeping within the realm of blockchain-based practices. Operating as a Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO), Beecoin is an art project dedicated to improving the living conditions of bees. Following an initial iteration developed in 2019, it represents a pioneering, locally anchored experiment that participates in the recent emergence of various artistic endeavors and pioneers alternative pathways for the future development of decentralized applications (dApps) for the common good.

In 2022, the Beeholder - Beecoin project entered its second iteration as BeeDAO within the framework of documenta fifteen. Visitors to documenta were able to participate by becoming active members of the network. More than 15 beekeepers from Kassel acted as intermediaries. Members—both bees and visitors—could vote on proposals that promoted the well-being of non-human actors.

BeeDAO aimed to enable the self-governance of non-human actors and was an organization led by both human and non-human entities. Its goal was to secure and enhance the well-being of bees worldwide. Utilizing Web3 technologies and sensor kits that monitored the lives of more than 15 beehives in Kassel, the organization made decisions in regular assemblies.

As a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), BeeDAO operated as a prototype organization, demonstrating the potential for interspecies democracy, wealth distribution, and knowledge creation. Humans and bees could join the BeeDAO and become Beeholders by donating their data (proof-of-life) or acquiring an NFT membership. They could nominate—or rather pollinate—delegates to represent their interests in regular assemblies. They could submit proposals to improve the lives of bees in specific areas and help shape the organization, its charter, rituals, and the interspecies distribution of wealth.

The assemblies were publicly accessible and held regularly during documenta fifteen at the Ruruhaus in Kassel.

Like many other projects in the blockchain world, Beeholder - Beecoin is speculative at its core and projects a radically disruptive future socio-technical development.


More information via BeeDAO website.

“Beeholder - Beecoin” is a project of ZK/U and the artist collective KUNSTrePUBLIK (Matthias Einhoff, Philip Horst, Harry Sachs) and a contribution to the Doc15 in Kassel

Community Sensor Development and Beekeeping Consultant Clemens Gruber + Hiveeyes.
Theory and Design collaborator Erik Bordeleau.
Digital Production and Design by Curvelabs.
Visual appearance Lars Neckel + Lars Hayer.
Thanks to Nascent (Paul Seidler) and Steph Holltrieu as 1st generation collaborators.
Special thanks to the beekeeping community in Kassel.