When Microbes Dream at i3S – Porto, Portugal

Jennifer Willet
Jan 12th - Feb 1, 2023
i3S - Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde

IOTA Institute is pleased to be the touring manager for When Microbes Dream, a solo exhibition by Canadian bioartist Jennifer Willet, which exhibits at i3S - Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde in Porto, Portugal on Jan 12, 2023. When Microbes Dream premiered at Kapelica Gallery (Ljubljana, Slovenia) in Oct 2021, exhibited at Ectopia Lab (Lisbon, Portugal) in Sept 2022 and continues on its European tour and last stop at i3S.

When Microbes Dream introduces audiences to allegorical visions of biotechnology as a technology of abundance, rooted in interspecies collaboration and bespoke ecologies. With this exhibition, the artist reimagines laboratory aesthetics as bountiful, feminine, and gaudy in direct contradiction to scientific norms. Willet presents several works including live specimens in conjunction with performative sculpture, large-scale installations, and a series of digital prints.

Each artwork presents a complex vision of organisms large and small (mammals, microbes, plants, and insects) working in collaboration to present biotech processes to human audiences. This work de-prioritizes the human scientist as the dominant organism working within a robust laboratory ecology. Rather, presents the daydreams of non-human organisms living, reproducing, performing and dying within laboratory settings.

When Microbes Dream presents a feminist science-fiction where biotechnology manifests interspecies collaboration, reproduction, theatre and storytelling as a means to re-imagine our shared biotech future.



This exhibition is produced in partnership with IOTA Institute, INCUBATOR Art Lab, and i3S. This project is supported by the University of Windsor, Canada Research Chair Program, Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, CANExport SMEs, the Trade Commissioners at the Embassy of Canada to Portugal, and the Province of Nova Scotia’s Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. Several artworks were created with the support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Special thanks to the touring managers at IOTA Institute. To learn about IOTA visit their website https://iotainstitute.com/

When Microbes Dream Project Assistants: Billie Mclaughlin, Domenica Mediati, Angela Awada, Jude Abu Zaineh, Lisha Laing, Aleeza Tariq, Kadila Adili, Phil Habashy, Justin Elliott, Michael Lucenkiw, Gillian Hughes, Luke Maddiford, Ashley Hemmings, Megan Andrews, Hadia Nadeem, Lyndsay Mckay,, Brodie Macphail.

Image credit
1-3) Jennifer Willet. When Microbes Dream Installation. Image Credit: Maddie Alexandar, i3S 2023
4-5) Jennifer Willet, Baroque Biology: Paper Theatre, 2019. Image Credit: Justin Elliot.


IOTA Institute and INCUBATOR Art Lab present, When Microbes Dream, a touring bioart exhibition by Jennifer Willet. Located in Porto, Portugal, the exhibition takes place at i3S (Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde), a research institute that brings science and bioart closer to society…