BioARTCAMP was a large collaborative art/science project hosted in July 2011 by Jennifer Willet from INCUBATOR: Hybrid Laboratory at the Intersection of Art, Science and Ecology at The University of Windsor and The Banff Centre for the Arts, in Canada. At BioARTCAMP a variety of artists, scientists and students built a portable bioart lab in Banff National Park, Canada. At this site they conducted a variety of bioart protocols, and hosted an open house ‘art/science fair’ for the general public. Participants included Jennifer Willet (CAN), Iain Baxter (CAN), Tagny Duff (CAN), Kurt Illerbrun (CAN), Marie Pier Boucher (CAN), Adam Zaretsky (USA) Paul Vanouse (USA), Kira O’Reilly (UK), Jeanette Groenendaal and Zoot Derks (NL), Kurt Illerbrun (CAN), and Bulent Mutus (CAN). BioARTCAMP traces ‘explorer’ and ‘natural science’ narratives from early explorers in the Canadian Rocky Mountains (and international figures like Jacques Cousteau) as applied to the context of contemporary biotechnologies. This project navigates contested boundaries between lab and field-based scientific methodologies–and topples the discrete categorization of life by bringing lab specimens and ‘natural’ life forms into physical and conceptual proximity. BioARTCAMP serves to provide the audience (in Banff National Park, but also the viewers of the resulting artworks and video) another vision of the biotech future: an embodied and responsible vision (a humorous and self-critical vision); and an ecological vision of our relations and responsibilities to the other life forms we share our planet and our laboratories with. Willet will exhibit a series of photographs that serve as documentation of the event. These works will attempt to trace the unruly happenstance of what occurred when she brought a variety of artists, and scientists, and specimens, and lab equipment together under a big tent in the Canadian Rocky Mountains!
Dr. Jennifer Willet is an internationally successful artist in the emerging field of bioart. From 2000-2007 Willet and Shawn Bailey collaborated on a project called BIOTEKNICA. She taught in the Studio Arts Department at Concordia University from 2000-2007, and completed her PhD in the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program at the same institution. She now works as an Assistant Professor in the School of Visual Arts at The University of Windsor in Canada. In 2009 she opened a bioart research and teaching lab called INCUBATOR: Hybrid Laboratory at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Ecology at the University of Washington.