Gentlemen Scientist
at Ars Electronica, Linz Austria

Jennifer Willet
Sept 6-10, 2023
Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria

Ars Electronica 2023 presents the festival "Who Owns The Truth" from September 6 to 10, 2023 in Linz, Austria. Dr. Jennifer Willet's installation, "The Gentlemen Scientist Coat," was displayed as part of the "When Microbes Dream" touring exhibition in the Gardens Exhibition. The new coat modification features a train of large and small organisms and globes of living bacteria cultures. The installation reimagines laboratory aesthetics as bountiful, feminine, and gaudy in direct contradiction to scientific norms.

Ars Electronica is Europe's largest festival for art, technology, and society. The five-day festival showcased a diverse range of art from around the world and focused on the question, "Who Owns the Truth?" This theme provided a thought-provoking platform for artists and tech enthusiasts to come together and discuss the impact of technology on our society.

Since 2010, Willet has been travelling and performing the artwork "Untitled: Traveling Laboratory/Coat." Shanti Freed (UK) originally designed the coat for Willet using several used lab coats as part of a collaborative photoshoot with Kira O'Reilly at the University of Birmingham in 2010. In 2017, Billie Mclaughlin modified it again to include fabric receptacles for eight snow globes and Petri dishes, allowing for sampling and incubation of microbes near the human body. In 2017/2018, Willet developed a performative alter ego called the Gentleman Scientist. In 2023, Daniela Gaia created a train to host more receptacles for snow globe Petri dishes and collage materials of organisms.

To learn more about The Gentlemen Scientists, link to the project page


Original Coat design/fabrication: Shanti Freed for a project in collaboration with Kira O'Reilly.

Coat Modification: Billie Mclaughlin

Coat Train: Daniela Gaie

Project Assistance:
Megan Andrews, Justin Elliott, Brodie MacPhail, Domenica Mediati, Hadia Nadeem, Dunia Roba, Nate Talbot.

This exhibition is produced in partnership with IOTA Institute, INCUBATOR Art Lab and Ars Electronica.

This project gratefully acknowledges the support of the University of Windsor, the Canada Research Chair Program, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Province of Nova Scotia's Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

Image Credits:
JWillet, Gentlemen Scientist, Arts Electronica, 2023.


Ars Electronica 2023 presents the festival “Who Owns The Truth” from September 6 to 10, 2023 in Linz, Austria. Dr. Jennifer Willet’s installation, “The Gentlemen Scientist Coat,” was displayed as part of the “When Microbes Dream” touring exhibition in the Gardens Exhibition…