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.
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.