In 2017, Jennifer Willet developed a performative alter ego called the Gentleman Scientist, an entertaining and gender fluid critique of the Western tradition of scientific rationality. The Gentleman Scientist is a ringmaster, a specialist, a time traveler, a buffoon, whose once white coat is filthy. He has 8 snow globes attached to the front and back like mutant breasts or egg sacks. Within each snow globe live colonies of microorganisms, bacteria, yeast, algae. They are fascinating, beautiful and putrid.
Gentleman Scientist: Microecologies is a 360° diorama installation installed on a sewing mannequin, which serves as a portrait of a character and a garment as it moves through ecologies and time, all the while accruing microbes and meaning–literal and metaphorical passengers.
Gentleman Scientist: Microecologies, like most of Willet’s practice, challenges hierarchies of truth, knowledge and experience within traditional manifestation of scientific rationality. With innovations in science and technology the future will be measured in multitudes, rather than fact or fiction. Willet’s work proposes iterative feminist, post-colonial, and post-speciesist visions of our shared biotech future that values scientific knowledge and biotech innovation in chorus with social, cultural, aesthetic and non-human knowledges. Gentleman Scientist: Microecologies is a cacophony ecology of human and non-human organisms living, reproducing and dying in a shared laboratory environment.
Jennifer Willet (CA)
Gentleman Scientist: Microecologies presents an alter ego developed by Jennifer Willet as an entertaining and gender fluid critique of the Western tradition of scientific rationality.
INCUBATOR Art Lab (CA), IOTA Institute (CA)
INCUBATOR Art Lab is a physical and theoretical hub with two bio-art research and presentation venues at The University of Windsor. Founded in 2009, it facilitates the assisted growth of life, but also supports the development of new ideas and artistic practices.
IOTA Institute is a creative agency that supports artists working in trans-disciplinary fields such as new media, bio-art, and visual art through art management, curatorial practice, artwork sales, public art and tour management.
This project is presented by IOTA Institute, INCUBATOR Art Lab, and Ars Electronica, with the support of University of Windsor, Canada Research Chair Program, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and Nova Scotia’s Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. It is made possible thanks to INCUBATOR Art Lab Project Assistants Billie Mclaughlin, Domenica Mediati, Justin Elliott, Gillian Hughes and Daniela Gaie.