BioArt Workshops are designed to engage the broader public and to promote interdisciplinary exchange between students and faculty from the social and the biological sciences.

The workshops will be led by Dr. Jennifer Willet, Director at INCUBATOR: Hybrid Laboratory at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Ecology, University of Windsor and an internationally successful artist in the emerging field of BioArt.

The two workshops are Cape Breton Yeast and Algae Organ; registration is required for both

Cape Breton Yeast

Registration through email is required; please contact Faryal Shehzad (artscicoordinator@cbu.ca)

When: Thursday, November 16th, 1-4PM

Where: Laboratory A-119 (Biology Department, Arseneau Britten Building, Cape Breton University)

What to Bring: Yourself, and enthusiasm for learning about basic microbiological techniques and the Art/Science intersect; optional: vintage Cape Breton post cards or photographs – if you don’t have something to bring, there will be some images available for you to incoporate in your project

What you will learn: The Cape Breton Yeast Workshop is part of a broader, ongoing BioArt project initiated by Jennifer Willet, called Windsor Yeast. She launched the project in 2008, and armed herself with a camera, and a yeast collection kit, and drove around the region where she lives (Windsor, Detroit, Essex regions) to collect photographs and microbial samples of the local post-industrial ecology. She cultured the samples back her lab at the University of Windsor – in petri dishes backed with photographs and historical images of the area. The project was inspired by the smell of yeast (due to the fermentation process at the Hiram Walker and Sons Distillery) that infuses regularly in her Walkerville neighbourhood. The smell holds double meaning for Jennifer; 1) she imagines we are all being permeated with the molecules of a robust industrial biotechnological by-product; and 2) she feels nostalgia for fermenting wing and beer with her dad in the basement of her family home. Her project, Windsor Yeast, applies a critical/nostalgic lens to the post-industrial terrain of Windsor/Detroit/Essex literally growing colonies of yeast over images of her adopted community. The project has grown to include satellite workshops in other cities including Hamilton Yeast (2010), Montreal Yeast (2014), and Amsterdam Yeast (2013). The project series makes visible to audiences and participants the microorganisms we share our communities with everyday. Come and be part of Cape Breton Yeast (2017), and part of the larger project Windsor Yeast (2008 – ongoing)!

Algae Organ

We are approaching capacity for this workshop, but if you are interested in registering, please contact Faryal Shehzad (artscicoordinator@cbu.ca). Demonstrations will be offered at later dates pending interest.

When: Friday, November 17th, 10AM-1PM

Where: Cape Breton University Art Gallery (CE 266)

What to Bring: Yourself, an inquiring mind, and an adventurous palate!

What you will learn: This BioArt workshop features an actual musical algae organ that is propelled by bicycle – seeing is truly believing, so come out to this workshop to see it first-hand!  The algae organ is based on a Dutch street organ, the sculpture Jennifer Willet created plays music for transient audiences while simultaneously growing, displaying, and providing tastings of a living health supplement called Spirulina. The algae has been grown in a fish tank at the CBU Art Gallery (something Art Gallery staff never thought they’d be able to add to their resume!), and the tank gets mounted in the back of the organ with a pump system that moves water and algae through front mounted display tubes as organ music is played. The flowing algae provides spectacle entertainment to passers-by, but is also essential to the algae cultivation process. Participants in this workshop will have hands on access to the Algae Organ and portable algae lab. They will learn how to cultivate Spirulina algae, engage in algae microscopy, taste-test the Spirulina (great in smoothies!), and take a sample home.

Dr. Barb Glassey
Project Leader