Jennifer Willet: When Microbes Dream at i3S (Porto, Portugal)

A close up photo of a bubble-shaped glass jar filled with murky green liquid, which is attached to a white wall. The wall is blurry, and covered in colourful paper cutouts.

IOTA Institute is pleased to be touring manager for When Microbes Dream, a solo exhibition by Canadian bioartist Jennifer Willet, which opens at its third venue, i3S in Porto, Portugal on 12 January 2023. When Microbes Dream premiered at Kapelica Gallery (Ljubljana, Slovenia) in Oct 2021, travelled to Ectopia (Lisbon, Portugal) in Sept 2022, and continues on its European tour. 

A huge colourful paper collage covers the white wall of an art gallery, and a small temporary garden bed is on the floor with green, yellow, and purple plants. The collage radiates out from the centre, and fetaures bright multicoloured paper cutouts of wallpaper samples, cell diagrams, and illustrations of animals.

When Microbes Dream introduces audiences to allegorical visions of biotechnology as a technology of abundance, rooted in interspecies collaboration and bespoke ecologies. With this exhibition, the artist reimagines laboratory aesthetics as bountiful, feminine, and gaudy in direct contradiction to scientific norms. Willet presents several works including live specimens in conjunction with performative sculpture, large-scale installations, and a series of digital prints.

Each artwork presents a complex vision of organisms large and small (mammals, microbes, plants, and insects) working in collaboration to present biotech processes to human audiences. This work de-prioritizes the human scientist as the dominant organism working within a robust laboratory ecology. Rather, presents the daydreams of non-human organisms living, reproducing, performing and dying within laboratory settings.

When Microbes Dream presents a feminist science-fiction where biotechnology manifests interspecies collaboration, reproduction, theatre and storytelling as a means to re-imagine our shared biotech future.

About i3S

Exterior of a large concrete brutalist building, with blue sky, green lawn, and tree lined sidewalk.i3S: Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (Institute for Research and Innovation in Health) is a transdisciplinary institution dedicated to research and innovation in Health Sciences. Being a major infrastructure in the region, i3S belongs to a robust network of EU bioart professionals (curators, artists, scientists, bioart laboratories, public institutions). A research institute at its core, i3S delves into the arts and other cultural activities. i3S Director Maria Lopes is assistant Director of two residency programs: ‘artists in Labs’ Ectopia (Lisbon) and Cultivamos Cultura, an ecological oriented residency program in a farm in Alentejo. One of the i3S Communication Unit goals is to acknowledge science as embedded in/part of culture and to bring science closer to society and to integrate the arts in the forms of residencies, exhibitions, conversations, workshops is considered a priority.

Meet Jennifer Willet

Headshot of artist Jennifer Willet

Jennifer Willet is an internationally recognized artist in the emerging field of bio art. Her research resides at the intersection of art and science, and explores notions of representation, the body, ecologies, and interspecies interrelations in the biotechnological field.  She engages in performance, installation, photography and sculpture based artistic practices, community arts and social practice, and philosophy of science, media studies, science and technology studies, combined with protocols and life forms from the biological sciences. She is the Director of INCUBATOR Art Lab and a Canada Research Chair in Art, Science and Ecology at the University of Windsor. 

Shop Exhibition Prints

Four framed photographs in a grid formation on a black wall. Each composition features baroque wallpaper collages featuring petri dishes, and illustrations of cells.
When Microbes Dream, solo exhibition by Jennifer Willet at Kapelica Gallery (Ljubljana, Slovenia), 2021. Photo: Hana Josic.

Acknowledgements

This exhibition is produced in partnership with IOTA Institute, INCUBATOR Art Lab, and i3S. This project gratefully acknowledges the support of the University of Windsor, Canada Research Chair Program, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Trade Commissioners at the Embassy of Canada to Portugal, and the Province of Nova Scotia’s Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. 

When Microbes Dream Project Assistants: Billie Mclaughlin, Domenica Mediati, Angela Awada, Jude Abu Zaineh, Lisha Laing, Aleeza Tariq, Kadila Adili, Phil Habashy, Justin Elliott, Michael Lucenkiw, Gillian Hughes, Luke Maddiford, Ashley Hemmings, Megan Andrews, Hadia Nadeem, Lyndsay Mckay.

The back of 2 people starting at a wall mural in a white walled art gallery. One has short hair and a pink shirt, and points at the mural with an outstretched hand. The other person has long dark red hair and is taking a photo with an iPhone of a huge colourful paper collage. The gallery has large windows, and the wall collage features illustrations of butterflies, insects, a neon pink line of tape, and bright blue illustrations of cell mitosis.
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Jennifer Willet

Artist, Director of INCUBATOR Art Lab

Dr. Jennifer Willet, Director of INCUBATOR Lab, and Associate Professor in the School of Creative Arts, at the University of Windsor (Canada) is an interdisciplinary artist and curator working in art and technology, bioart and social practice genres.

The Incubator Art Lab

Presenting Partner, Bioart Lab

A studio/lab to facilitate ongoing bioart research and production for INCUBATOR art lab members at The University of Windsor

i3S

Research Institute, Exhibition Venue

i3S: Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (Institute for Research and Innovation in Health) is a transdisciplinary institution based in Porto, Portugal dedicated to research and innovation in Health Sciences. Being a major infrastructure in the region, i3S belongs to a robust network of EU bioart professionals (curators, artists, scientists, bioart laboratories, public... Read More

SAVE THE DATE Feb 12, 2023!
When Microbes Dream is a solo exhibition by @IOTAInstitute artist @jenniferwilletbioart

Opening 12 January - 1 February 2023, at i3S in Porto, Portugal.
#bioart #jenniferwilletbioart #i3s #portugalart

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