Windsor Yeast (2008-present) is an ongoing bioart project where I collect yeast samples from my community in the Windsor / Detroit / Essex region. Armed with a camera, and a yeast collection kit (including Potato Dextrose Agar in petri dishes, cotton swabs, and sterile water) I drive around the region collecting photographs and microbial samples of our post-industrial ecology.
The samples are grown in my lab at the University of Windsor - in petri dishes backed with photographs and historical images of this area. This project was inspired by the smell of yeast (due to the fermentation process at the Hiram Walker and Sons Distillery) that infuses the air regularly in my Walkerville neighborhood. The smell holds double meaning for me; (1) I imagine we are all being permeated with the molecules of a robust industrial biotechnological by-product; and (2) I feel nostalgia for fermenting wine and beer with my dad in the basement of our family home. Windsor Yeast applies a critical/nostalgic lens to the post-industrial terrain of Windsor / Detroit / Essex literally growing colonies of yeast over images of my adopted community.
This project has grown to include satellite workshops in other cities including Hamilton Yeast (2010), Montreal Yeast (2014), and Amsterdam Yeast (2013), Cape Breton Yeast (2017). Windsor Yeast has been exhibited at the Leamington Arts Centre in Leamington, Ont (2014) and Centre 3 Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario (2016).
The Windsor Yeast series makes visible to audiences and participants the microorganisms we share our communities with everyday.
1) Windsor Yeast, digital print, 2012. Photo: Arturo Herrera.
2) Windsor Yeast, digital print, 2012. Photo: Arturo Herrera.
3) Windsor Yeast, digital print, 2012. Photo: Arturo Herrera.
4) Windsor Yeast installation at Leamington Arts Centre, 2014. Photo: Arturo Herrera
5) Windsor Yeast installation at Leamington Arts Centre, 2014. Photo: Arturo Herrera
6) Windsor Yeast installation at Centre 3, 2016.