Hamilton Artists Inc. is pleased to present Laboratory Ecologies, an immersive participatory bio art installation, and collection of artworks by Windsor-based artist, Jennifer Willet, PhD. Willet’s internationally renowned, seminal interdisciplinary practice combines contemporary visual art, biology and ecology. Grounded by colorfully modified, yet functional laboratory equipment, the exhibition mines laboratory aesthetics, and the messages that contemporary lab equipment design communicates to users. The visual language of cold, sterile, masculine, steel/plastic/glass used in laboratory technology design conveys a gendered, authoritative, and Western hierarchy of objective truth telling to audiences. Where as, Willet’s modified lab equipment visually re-connects this equipment to the bodies (and bodily functions) it attempts to re-create, the natural world, and the human drive to dominate nature through the natural sciences.
Exploring these connections between the human body and laboratory processes, Willet likens the lab environment to a complicated natural ecosystem; a carefully balanced relationship between a variety of organisms (and parts of organisms) inhabiting a shared environment: animal and human research subjects, cells, bacteria, enzymes, plants, the scientists themselves, and even unwanted contaminants engaging in mutually beneficial and detrimental relationships. Although these life forms are often not allowed to leave the lab, their by-products and research implications are transforming our bodies, our ecologies, and by extension our cultural and social connections with each other and the natural world. The equipment in Laboratory Ecologies, through its modification and display, makes disciplines of biology, ecology, and the laboratory environment accessible to a diverse array of audiences by disarming viewers through its unique, quirky and colorful presentation.
Hamilton Artists Inc.
Mar 25 – May 13, 2017