BioArt Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences : Project 2: A Very Small Art Project Winter 2020

Featured Image By: Ashlyn McCann

Author: Ashley Hemmings

For this assignment students were asked to prepare a very small bioart project that would only be viewable with the assistance of a microscope or other magnification device. The students were encouraged to work with living or recently deceased media and to think conceptually about ideas of scale and magnification. Below are a few examples of student work.

Chloe Chlumecky - Science is for Everybody

For this project Chloe photographed 21 different living things under the microscope and layered these images with microscopic images of printed text, creating individual circles that come together to spell out “Science is for Everybody”. With this work Chloe was considering her previous insecurities around the sciences, and challenging the idea that maybe science is only for certain kinds of people.


Ashlyn McCann - A Very Small Flower Arrangement

For this project Ashlyn dissected various flowers and rearranged the cut pieces, turning them into miniature versions of themselves. To complete this project Ashlyn built a makeshift light table/microscope set up in her home that allowed her to take backlit photos of the plants at several magnifications through her Nikon camera. Ashlyn was interested in pulling apart the different components of the plants and playing with their textures, colours, and patterns.


Jennifer Fraser - The Berry Red Exhibition

For her project, Jennifer decided to curate a tiny exhibition of miniature artworks. One of the works in her exhibition was a very small collage on canvas using strawberry seeds, leaves, and the red juice of the strawberry to stain the canvas. The other piece in the theoretical exhibition was a video piece called A Berry Close Journey, that travels from outside of the strawberry into deep microscopic images of its interior. The theoretical goal of this exhibition was to incorporate the creation of miniature artwork done inside and outside of the lab, both exploring the same organic object.


Rebecca McKenzie - Baby Burger and Fries

For this project Rebecca created a miniature hamburger and fries meal. Using an x-acto knife she cut down the usual ingredients into humorously tiny versions of themselves and cooked them over the flame of a single burning candle. With this work Rebecca played with scale and brought the idea of bioart into the home, using the kitchen as a laboratory and allowing scientific experimentation to occur in a domestic space.


Ashley Kerr - Talking Leaf Heads

Ashley cut faces into three periwinkle leaves, then photographed the leaves with and without the cut sections to create a stop motion video. The final work is a short psychedelic music video, with the leaf heads singing along to “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads. This work approaches bioart in relation to music, pop-culture, and humour.