Baroque Biology presents a feminist science-fiction where biotechnology manifests interspecies collaboration, reproduction, theatre and storytelling as a means to re-imagine our shared biotech future. The exhibition presents a series of imaginary biotechnological vignettes including digital images, performative sculptures, and living cultures; where non-human organisms interact with humans in an effort to convey information about complex biological processes. The artist reimagines laboratory aesthetics as feminine, gawdy, and fantastical in direct contradiction to the norms of contemporary laboratory design. The artworks are counterintuitive, imagining biotechnology research as an integrated part of our planetary ecology and everyday life. Like fairy tales for a biotech future, each allegory focuses on a mammal, microbe, plant, or insect, that attempts to communicate with humans in a helpful manner about the biological processes they employ for survival, reproduction, or aesthetic pleasure. Baroque Biologycritiques institutional hierarchies by encouraging unconventional daydreaming and welcoming new models of participation in the laboratory.
Baroque Biology was premiered at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery January 16 - March 7, 2020.
Construction and Design Assistance: Billie McLaughlin.
Sponsors: SSHRC - Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada
The Canada Research Chairs Program
Ontario Arts Council
Windsor Arts, Culture and Heritage fund
Project Assistants: Kadila Adili, Philip Habashy, Ashley Hemmings, Gillian Hughes, Michael Lucenkiw, Luke Maddaford, Domenica Mediati, Billie Mclaughlin, Aleeza Tariq.
1-6) Jennifer Willet, Baroque Biology at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, 2020. Image Credit: Scott Lee.