Arctic Labscapes

Arctic Labscapes (2013-Currently) is a series of new performances, videos and photographs, traveling with lab equipment and specimens from ‘the South’ engaging arctic cultures and landscapes through performance and bioart discourses.

In July 2013 I traveled with Dr. Shannon Bell to Pangnirtung Nunavut to join Dr. Peter Kulchyski and his University of Manitoba summer school program living and working with a local Inuit community on Baffin Island. During our time in the North we participated in a variety of educational, community and cultural experiences including: home visits with local elders, Inuktitut classes, a seminar on Artic botany, and hunting, fishing, food preparation, and camping ‘on the land.’ These experiences exposed me to a variety of notions of interspecies relations and embodiment complicating discrete and contained notions of the body. Categorical distinctions between: food – garbage – bodies – tools – animals – humans – shelter – shit – me – you - and all of us – were blurred and reconfigured as entangled within the magnificent arctic ecology. I conducted a series of performances traveling with a vial of water from the south through the arctic landscape.

In October 2014 I joined The Arctic Circle residency program sailing in a tall ship around the Island of Svalbard, Norway. During the voyage I built a miniature green house in my bunk, growing live plant specimens from the south purchased at a local grocery store; chia seeds, peas, red beans, tarragon, and a jade plant cutting from a local scientist, all made the voyage alongside the artist – eventually dying through exposure to the harsh arctic climate.

Image Credits:
1) Jennifer Willet, Whoever left the dead duck on the front step, your duck is in the fridge, Baffin Island Performances and Video Installation, 2013. Photo Credit: J.Willet.

Funded by: CCPPA - Canadian Consortium on Performance & Politics in the Americas.

2) Jennifer Willet, Arctic Labscapes, The Arctic Circle Residency, Svalbard Norway, 2014. Photo Credit: J.Willet.

Funded by: The University of Windsor.