Jennifer Willet: BioArt

Dr. Jennifer Willet received a SSHRC Insight Grant “BioART: Collaborating with Life” with collaborators and UofW alumni Alana Bartol (ACADU) and Amanda White (Queens).  This grant will allow for five years of Research/Creation and a series of special events hosted by the INCUBATOR Lab.  
Bio Art is art + science + ecology
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Artist: Jennifer Willet
Dates: June 17 - July 30, 2016
Opening reception: Friday, June 17, 7-10pm
Artist talk + Algae Organ Workshop: Saturday, June 18, 2-5pm
Victoria Yeast Workshop: Wednesday, June 22, 5-8pm
DIY LIFE: Art + Science + Ecology Fair: Saturday, June 25, 12-5pm, Fisherman's Wharf Park, 12 Erie Street
BioArt is coming to Victoria, BC!  BioArt is a new form of artistic practice that uses scientific processes and materials for a gallery setting. Ontario-based artist Jennifer Willet presents NATURAL SCIENCE, a touring exhibition that connects science and art, while undermining traditional hierarchies between the natural and un-natural worlds. Specimens intermingle in unusual ways challenging the protocols of traditional laboratory work and art studios. The project is inspired by art and science research conducted in a portable lab constructed in the Rocky Mountains during a residency at the Banff Centre. This unique collection of BioArt research serves to re-imagine the role that biotechnology plays in our shared natural history.
Victoria audiences will have the opportunity to contribute to this growing collection of experiments by participating in workshops, artist talk, and the DIY LIFE: Art + Science + Ecology Fair.
On Saturday, June 18, Willet will give an artist talk introduction to her artistic pratice and then will be host her Algae Organ Workshop, where participants will have hands-on access to the Algae Organ, a sculpture created by Willet that will play music while simultaneously growing algae.
On Wednesday, June 22, Willet will guide a second Yeast Victoria Workshop on particular type of yeast that has been used for baking and fermenting for thousands of years. With both workshops, participants will receive a brief introduction to contemporary BioArt practices as well as cultivate their own living organisms. Participants’ works will be featured as a part of the exhibition and DIY LIFE: Art + Science + Ecology Fair. The workshops are by donation and open to all ages. Please email to register.
DIY LIFE: Art + Science + Ecology Fair
On Saturday, June 25 in the Fisherman’s Wharf Park, the DIY LIFE: Art + Science + Ecology Fair will be a gathering of art, science and ecology projects, groups and organizations coming together to explore possibilities for an innovative, creative, and sustainable future. The results of the workshops and fair will be documented in a DIY LIFE HACK zine and become a local contribution to the exhibition and Willet’s ongoing research into our relations and responsibilities to the other life forms we share our planet and our laboratories with.
About Dr. Jennifer Willet
Dr. Jennifer Willet is an internationally successful artist in the emerging field of BioArt. Her work resides at the intersection of art and science, and explores notions of representation, the body, ecologies, and interspecies interrelations in the biotechnological field.
From 2000-2007 Willet and Shawn Bailey collaborated on an innovative computational, biological, artistic, project called BIOTEKNICA. At the same time, she taught in the Studio Arts Department at Concordia University, and completed her PhD in the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program at the same institution. Willet also taught “BioArt: Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences” for The Art and Genomics Centre at The University of Leiden in 2008, and now works as an Assistant Professor in theSchool of Visual Arts, at The University of Windsor. In 2009 she opened the first biological art lab in Canada, called INCUBATOR: Hybrid Laboratory at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Ecology at the UofW. In July 2011 she completed BioARTCAMP, a project that involved hosting 20 artists, scientists and students at The Banff Centre, where they built a portable bioart laboratory and conducted experiments in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Exhibitions include: the Arnolfini Museum, Bristol UK (2010), Exit Art Gallery, New York, NY (2009), Ars Electronica festival, Linz (2008), FOFA Gallery, Montreal (2007), ISEA San Jose, USA (2006), Biennial Electronic Arts Perth Perth, Australia (2004), The European Media Arts Festival Osnabrück , Germany (2003), La Société des arts et technologiques (SAT) Montreal, Canada (2005), and The Forest City Gallery London, Canada (2004), amongst others. She has conducted research during residencies at The Banff Centre for the Arts Banff, Canada (2002, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011), and SymbioticA, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia (2004, 2006).
Project Credits
BioARTCAMP Participants: Iain Baxter&, Angus Leech, Tagny Duff, Paul Vanouse, Marta De Menezes, Marie Pier Boucher, Kurt Illerbrun, Bulent Mutus, Jeanette Groenendaal, Zoot Derks, Jennifer Willet, Jamie Ferguson, Britt Wray, Kacie Auffret, David Dowhaniuk. Additionally, Tokio Webster, Grant Yocom, Louise Baxter&, Joan Linder, Dylan Leech.
BioARTCAMP Video Direction: Jeanette Groenendaal, Zoot Derks
NS / BioARTCAMP Project Assistants: Billie Mclaughlin, Arturo Herrera, Lauren DiVito, Dianne Clinton, Patrick Bodnar, Victor Romao, Tokio Webster.
NS and BioARTCAMP Supporters: Canada Council for the Arts, the Banff Centre, the University of Windsor, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Ontario Arts Council, Hostelling International, Parks Canada, Banff National Park, The Art and Genomics Centre at The University of Leiden, Fonds BKVB.
Algae Organ Project Assistant: Billie McLaughlin
Algae Organ Supporters: Ontario Arts Council, City of Windsor, the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research GLIER, University of Windsor, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.