The University of Windsor is preparing for a safe return to campus. Learn More.
Jennifer Willet with her installation “The Great Lakes Algae Organ” Jennifer Willet, a professor in the School of Creative Arts, will exhibit her installation “The Great Lakes Algae Organ” at the Michigan Science Center through Aug. 17.

BioArtist’s installation featured in exhibition at Michigan Science Center

A free exhibition through Aug. 17 at the Michigan Science Center exploring connections to water features an installation by UWindsor arts professor Jennifer Willet.

Dr. Willet, director of the Incubator Lab and Canada Research Chair in Art, Science, and Ecology, produced the Great Lakes Algae Organ as the first in a series of artworks investigating the complex biological, historical, and cultural ecology of the Great Lakes Basin.

Based on the trope of a Dutch street organ, it plays music for audiences while growing, displaying, and entertaining a live algae colony. The algae are grown in a fish tank mounted in back of the organ with a pump system that moves water and algae through front display tubes as organ music is played.

The organ becomes a talking point to discuss algae’s roles — as a superfood, as the largest producer of oxygen in our atmosphere, as a possible source of biofuel, and as an invasive species infesting waters in the Great Lakes.

Recent graduate Jude Abu Zaineh (MFA 2019) assisted with the installation of the work on site, and alumna Billie McLaughlin worked as a fabricator on this project.

The Michigan Science Center is located at 5020 John R St., Detroit.

—Susan McKee