Conveners: Jennifer Willet, Tagny Duff, and Shannon Bell 


This working group will consider the parallel fields of bioart and performance art and investigate the moments of intersection and entanglement between the two.  Bioart is generally understood as a form of contemporary art that involves manipulating biology or living media towards aesthetic ends, and is linked to complex considerations of bioethics.  Bioart (like her older cousin performance art) involves a shift in creative production strategies away from forms of representation and towards the manifestation of real embodied encounters between human and non-human specimens. This group will engage theoretically, politically, and in direct hands on workshops that explore notions of ‘performing bioethics.’  We will consider performativity in bioart – exploring the shifting roles of the artist, scientist, and non-human animal as embodied performer within this context. We invite participants from the arts, humanities, and sciences who are interested in exploring the politics of radical interdisciplinarity, performativity, and interspecies interrelations within the laboratory environment arising from Bioart practices. No previous laboratory experience is required.


This work group will involve 2 days of hands-on bioart workshops: 1 at Fluxmedia, Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University, and 1 in a portable laboratory environment designed by Jennifer Willet installed in the City of Montreal. One day of performance workshop, and two days of theoretical readings and discussion.


Submissions should include a short statement on the applicant’s interest in the topic, and a small sample of previous work: a short abstract, video clip, or 5 images of visual work. Any proposed bibliography entries are also welcome. Materials should be uploaded via the online application form before October 9th, 2013.

This working group will be limited to 12 participants.

Convener Biographies:

Shannon Bell is a Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto, Canada. She is a performance philosopher who lives and writes philosophy-in-action. Her books include: Fast Feminism (2010), Reading, Writing and Rewriting the Prostitute Body (1994); Whore Carnival (1995); Bad Attitude/s on Trial co-authored (1997); Subversive Itinerary: The Thought of Gad Horowitz, co-edited (2013) and New Socialisms, co-edited (2004). Bell is currently working on shooting theory––video-imagining philosophical concept such as Heidegger’s stillness, Husserl’s epoché, Batiallian waste, Weil’s attention, Deleuzian deterritorialization, Virilio’s vision machine and accident, and Levinas’ elemental.

Dr. Jennifer Willet is an internationally successful artist in the emerging field of BioArt. Her work resides at the intersection of art and science, and explores notions of representation, the body, ecologies, and interspecies interrelations in the biotechnological field. Willet works as an Assistant Professor in the School of Visual Arts, at The University of Windsor. In 2009 she opened the first biological art lab in Canada, called INCUBATOR: Hybrid Laboratory at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Ecology at the UofW. In July 2011 she completed BioARTCAMP, a project that involved hosting 20 artists, scientists and students at The Banff Centre, where they built a portable bioart laboratory and conducted experiments in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

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