Art + LifeART + LIFE
SOVA Projects Gallery
University of Windsor
The ART + LIFE exhibition highlights the student projects affiliated the BioART: Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences class taught in the INCUBATOR laboratory by Jennifer Willet from 2009-2013 at the University of Windsor.
Curated by Jennifer Willet and Kacie Auffret
For more information about the BioART: Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences Class: http://bioartwindsor.blogspot.ca/AMANDA LAFLAMMEAmanda LaFlamme
Beauty and the Yeast
This piece was created using the historical and biotechnological process of mixing flour, water, salt, and yeast to create amass of dough. Through fermentation, live organisms interacting within the dough created alcohol and carbon dioxide gas which caused the dough to rise before and during baking. After baking and slicing the bread, the artist used a laser engraver to toast the words of the story into each slice. The story and the bread itself are representations of feminist issues such as the stereotyping of the female sex and gender, the empowerment of women, the contributions of women to our culture as well as the field of science, and the missed connections between these issues.
Traditionally science was male dominated yet women have been unrecognized scientists for centuries and bread-making is just one example of that as baking has been seen as ‘women’s work’ yet bread-making is biotechnology. Once upon a time women were legally banned from universities and ownership of property including businesses. Thus men first created women’s limitations and then used women’s perceived lack of growth and independence as proof that women were incompetent. Still today, women face economic limitations due to our patriarchal society although it is changing slowly. This representation of the link between bread-making and biotechnology in the form of art symbolizes women’s resiliency and resourcefulness. What men have done with riches, women have done with their scraps.AMANDA WHITEAmanda White
Frugivore, 3rd Generation
Frugivore is an ongoing project, in which I attempt to communicate biologically with tomato plants by revisiting a mutual relationship that exists between mammals and their food plants. To do this, I incorporate the natural seed dispersal actions of a fruit-eating mammal (or frugivore) into the human process of food crop cultivation.
I am growing plants from the seeds of cherry tomatoes that I first purchased from the grocery store, then ate, and deposited in my waste. The seeds were then harvested from my waste by hand and grown into fruiting plants. I am continuing the cycle by eating and growing further generations of the same tomatoes. The first two generations of plants were grown indoors over the fall and winter of 2011-2012. Pictured here is the third generation of plants, currently growing in my backyard garden.
The process of this project illustrates the process of seed scarification -the way in which seeds travel through the digestive system of an animal in order to be broken down and prepared for germination and growth. This is an important process in ecology, as it allows for seed dispersal and plant diversity.
The use of urine and feces as plant fertilizers and compost materials are also common in our farming practices and yet are seen as the work of animals, not humans. The Frugivore project emphasizes our bodies as animal bodies, performing similar tasks and behaving symbiotically with other organisms in our environment.BRANDON LEMIREBrandon Lemire
Open reduction internal plantation
28 x 36’’
28 x 36’’
28 x 36’’
In my work I explore different states of vulnerably in relation to man and the environment. I consider the environment a sentient being and my intention is to create works that reveal the environment’s response to the encroachment of man and urban sprawl. I am interested in the environment’s reaction to the harm we, as humans, inflict upon it.
In my current career as a Surgical Technician I have witnessed events which place humans in possibly the most vulnerable state they will ever experience. Just as a person has no control over the events take place while they are under anesthesia, neither does the environment when man carves through it for their own benefits. To comment on this subject I create drawings and juxtapose them with surgical instruments used during a particular procedure and the blood and tissue of the human body that are revealed during the surgery. The outcome is a strategically arranged, three dimensional, mixed media composition that is then photographed.
These digital prints comment on the ideology of the environment, mans place in it and the vulnerability of these two subjects. I am interested in the discourse between man and the environment and bringing to light what has become of this relationship through these works.
BRYCE CLARKBryce Clark
Dissection of a Toy Frog
Digital Photograph, mixed media
This piece is a diagram of a dissected stuffed animal that has had organ maid from actual meat products inserted into it. The organ placement and appearance is based on an actual frog dissection. This piece is meant as a satirical statement on science and its place in contemporary times. Specifically this piece addresses the seriousness with which science is taken as well as the availability of science to people in current times. Science in today’s age is available to almost every one of all ages and is not a solely exclusive practice. By using a stuffed animal I aim to reflect that science is available to people of all ages, even children.
The piece mimics an actual frog dissection with a stuffed animal so as to take a common scientific practice often used in education at all levels and would be therefore obvious and recognizable to the viewer. It makes the practice whimsical and amusing so as to dumb down the seriousness of science. Ones’ view of science and scientists can be cold and stoic; this piece shows that science and its practitioners can be entertaining and even comical. In conclusion this piece is a comical reflection of how we view science in current times.COLE FORTIERCole Fortier
I have created a fictional ‘microscopic’ species from millions of years ago. The piece is a satyrical hoax, that deals with issues in arts and science, such as legitimacy and public naivety. Shown on the wall will be two framed ‘documents’ on my path to discovering the species, with the ‘actual’ specimen displayed in a petri dish, on top of a pedestal, underneath laboratory lights. Inside the petri dish will be a speck of dust, intriguing the viewer to try and get a closer look. The intention of my piece is to mock the notion of credibility, and to investigate Bio-art from a sarcastic and absurdist view-point.ERICA DOUGLASErica Douglas
16”x12” plus frame (20” x 16” total)
This piece includes four samples of makeup as they are seen under a microscope, including foundation and eye shadow. I wanted to examine the differences between what makeup would really look like as compared with the demonstrations and illustrations of it as seen in advertisements. Foundation especially is always said to have “micro beads” or similar terms, but under the microscope it looks almost alien. My hope is that a viewer wearing makeup might see the piece and re-examine what it is that she or he rubs into her or his skin each day, trusting that it is safe.
The photographs of each makeup sample were taken with a digital camera attached to a microscope. I cropped the photographs to be circular as the sample plates on some laboratory slides are. The photographs were cropped and sharpened, but were not otherwise altered.JESSICA HOWICKJessica Howick
Photographic Documentation / Performance
The following photographs are a part of a performance piece entitled “Room 2096 “ and is dedicated to the creation of life in a sterile environment. For this piece, my identical twin sister and I went to a functioning cloning lab in Ontario and investigated various cloning procedures. I then extracted myself as a third party observer and inserted my sister and I into the working environment as “living DNA”. To create the stark surroundings necessary for this piece, I had the scientists work in an assembly- line fashion at either lab station, while we were existing alongside them, donned in flesh coloured body suits. I wanted to create an environment that stressed the sharp contrast between the process of creating life and the literal created life. We, sublime creations of intricate and identical DNA, insert ourselves into the background, mere living backdrops to the scientific chaos of creation. By doing this we humanized the process by invading the environment through our extreme contrasts. Placing ourselves into this scenery and dressed as cloned cells, we are interrupting the fragile nature of cloning, we are preparing the viewer for what could be next in the future of cloning research and also allowing themselves to play the moral trumpet. The final image depicts us re-enacting the actual cloning process in front of the three images. I want people, independent in thought, to look at this image and grasp, to purely grasp and to reach blindly, because creation is at our fingertips. Something so impossible and unimaginable yet so beautiful has been transformed into something so compact, being carried out through a petri dish in a little lab with off-white walls.KACIE AUFFRETKacie Auffret
Craniates is a series of photographs showing myself cleaning the skull of a dead fox. In the photographs I am dressed up as a 1950’s house wife cleaning the skull. I wanted to demonstrate something that woman used to do, now is dominate more by man. The community around the Windsor and Essex County is full of man that hunts and cleans their prized animals. I wanted to show myself as a woman dressed up doing something that most man would do.
In the image I am preparing the skull by cleaning all the extra flesh off the bone, such as taking the tongue out, ripping the skull apart, and removing the eyes. Afterwards the skull is placed in a container full of flesh eating beetles, where the skull will be cleaned up in within a few days. Subsequently when the skull is cleaned of any flesh, the skull than is either bleached to give a very clean white effect, or is left in a more natural state. The skull on display is the actual fox skull in the image.LAUREN DIVITOLauren DiVito
Biological specimens with text
It is easy to be afraid of something concrete- blood, dogs, snakes, spiders- because they are physical beings that one can see and touch. Yet, this also makes them much easier to face if one is willing. It is those intangible worries that are inevitable in life that are much more difficult to confront because they are out of one’s control- not as easily avoided as something with substance. Fear Undone gives the abstract anxieties of the artist- death, disease, failing- solid form as tiny text on the wings of bees, an insect that causes her great distress. It was this process of seeing the words and having to place them on the specimens that allowed her to literally face her fears, both physically and mentally. By reducing the size of the writing so that they can be viewed well only under magnification, she is accepting that although these worries cannot be entirely eradicated, they can be undone, given lesser value, and thus controlled.NATALIE NADEAUNatalie Nadeau
(Eleven Pointed Pineapple), (Sea Shell Delicacy Knit), (Star Stitch with Raised Roses), (Triangular Web Motif), (Floral Wheel Thread)
Second hand doilies, petri dishes, agar, unknown bacteria, reconstructed lab table
Inheritance is a work compromised of five over-sized Petri dishes, hosting bacteria covered doilies. Each second hand doily is submerged into an agar solution, which is the ‘culture medium’ that encourages bacteria growth. This process has been active for approximately eight months.
Each Petri dish sits illuminated on a reconstructed lab table, which serves to intensify the visual focus of each bacteria-laced doily for the viewer, and simultaneously creates a warm, enclosed environment where additional microbial organisms can grow.
The crocheted doilies embody a strong and perhaps forgotten sense of domestic, social heritage; embedded in their social fabric are the individuals who once utilized the doilies for their intended purpose, as well as the artisans who purposefully crafted each one with the skills and knowledge learned from the past. By not sanitizing each doily prior to use, bacteria are able to inherit the thread of each crocheted motif, allowing a possible link to each doily’s historical ancestry. The collision of microorganisms with symmetrical domestic surface treatments reveals the ties between certain formations found in microscopic bacteria and traditionally crocheted thread stitches. Each specimen is an investigation into generational lineage, geometric formation and unknown origins.TINA SUNTRESTina Suntres
Chia on form
The objective of this project was to show how plants can be used as an optimal Bioart medium. Plants are vital by producing the necessary oxygen and nutrients for life to flourish on earth. Utilizing plants instead of tissues in Bioart reduces the need for many of the animal by-products used in labs. They can be grown into many shapes and they do not need to be disposed of as a biohazard after the piece is displayed. Plants are often over looked during debates that question the ethics of utilizing living materials in art because they are not conscious.
Exhibiting chia in the form of a person helped anthropomorphize it into something that was living and breathing so people could relate to it. It took the chia a week to grow on paper towels, similar to how skin grafts are grown and was later pinned onto a human form. The tomato in the picture was to help bring the concept full circle. It represented how we are what we eat, with plants being the main source of nutrients. The next version of this project would be made full size with arms and legs to improve on the concept.