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caption: Beekeepers manage hives at Sea-Tac airport as a plane flies overhead.
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1 of 4 Beekeepers manage hives at Sea-Tac airport as a plane flies overhead.
Rod Hatfield

Flight Path: Bees, A Hackathon And Sea-Tac Airport

Did you know there are bees at Sea-Tac Airport? Twenty beehives are already in place in green space around the airport. And tonight, a two-day hackathon gets going that’s centered around the idea of bees and flight. It’s connected to a new art installment that’s going in at Sea-Tac: “Flight Path.”

Exhibit curator Kate Fernandez says the idea is for artists to explore this concept of bees and flight. More specifically: flight, pollination and communication. Plus, she’ll show photo documentation of the beehives outside.

The nonprofit she works for, Common Acre, installed them “to improve an otherwise negative space that is essentially scrubland,” Fernandez says. “We hope to transform it into a richer habitat that supports the healthy development of bees and other pollinators."

The artists, all from the Pacific Northwest, are making pieces that highlight this concept. One pair is producing a graphic novel that look at the common visual language bees and flowers have adopted, one that humans can’t even see.

Fernandez says another artist, a sculptor, is building a bench out of reclaimed wood. “It uses the themes of flight and bees together and maps that over landscape patterns that one would see when flying above the earth."

As for this weekend’s hackathon, developers intersect with beekeepers and artists to create who-knows-what. It could be a phone app that helps scientists or some kind of constructed object. It could also potentially be art that ends up in the exhibit at Sea-Tac. That opens on June 16.

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