PROPONENT – Jennifer Willet

 PROJECT NAME: Whoever left the dead duck on the front step – Your duck in in the fridge.

 PROJECT TYPE case study / theme group / event travel

 PROJECT DESCRIPTION (up to 500 words)

My contribution the Canadian Consortium revolves around case study explorations of embodiment and interspecies interrelations in a variety of communities through out the Americas. I foresee myself ‘shadowing’ a variety of researchers in their own research communities towards investigating what Humanities and Social Sciences research methods and outcomes can contribute to my ongoing art/science research and production in the bioart field.

In July 2013 I traveled with Shannon Bell to Pangnirtung Nunavut to join Peter Kulchyski and his University of Manitoba summer school program living and working with a local Inuit community on Baffin Island. During our time in the North we participated in a variety of educational, community and cultural experiences including: home visits with local elders, Inuktitut classes, a seminar on Artic botany, and hunting, fishing, food preparation, and camping ‘on the land.’ These experiences exposed me to a variety of notions of interspecies relations and embodiment complicating discrete and contained notions of the body. On my first morning at the summer school I arrived in the kitchen/classroom to find this announcement written on the blackboard “Whoever left the dead duck on the front step – Your duck in in the fridge.” This message was funny and confusing and indicative of the new perspectives on human/animal inter-relations I would experience in the days to come.

Categorical distinctions between: food – garbage – bodies – tools – animals – humans – shelter – shit – me – you - and all of us – were blurred and reconfigured as entangled within the magnificent arctic ecology. In between preparing meals, taking classes, tenting, hiking and boating – I created a photographic essay cataloguing my shifting perceptions of bodies and landscapes (and their relationship to laboratory based biotechnologies) through the repeated photographic documentation of a single test tube in a variety of circumstances. Since I have returned to the south I have taken all of my soiled gear and purchases from the North into the laboratory, and collected samples of stray rocks and twigs, hair, sand, water, and microbial swabs. I plan on photo documenting all of these samples as well.

I am requesting support in editing these images (and some video clips from Shannon Bell) into a 7 minute video projection/installation. I imagine arraigning the images into a montage sometimes moving quickly – and sometimes still. I wish to record a narrative voice over explaining my experiences in a humorous, theoretical, and sometimes-heartbreaking fashion. I wish to articulate to audiences the loss of discrete embodied boundaries I experienced while traveling in the North (much like the first time I entered a laboratory environment) and the giddy and conflicted and crushing emotions that come with ‘shadowing’ and ‘sampling’ another researcher – another culture – people - life forms – bodies.

 PROJECT OUTCOME

I will propose the video installation premiere at the Montreal Encentro in June 2014. I will also propose to exhibit the installation at a variety of venues worldwide. Additionally I will host the video on my artist and laboratory websites and propose that we host the video in the Canadian Consortium video archive.

 LANGUAGES OF PROJECT – English with French Subtitles

 TIMELINE

Summer 2013 – Travel to Pangnirtung with P. Kulchyski and S. Bell

Fall 2013 – Work with Windsor based video editor to edit video + voiceover sound recording.

Winter 2014 – Work with a translator to develop French text.

Spring 2014 – Premiere the video installation at the Montreal Encentro

 TECHNOLOGY REQUIREMENTS

I will use technology available to me through The University of Windsor.

 RESEARCH ASSISTANT REQUIREMENTS

I will hire a MFA student from UWindsor to assist with editing. If there is no current student who has the appropriate video editing skills, I will hire a recent alumnus from the program.

 INVOLVEMENT OF GRADUATE STUDENTS

I will hire a MFA student from UWindsor to assist with editing. If there is no current student who has the appropriate video editing skills, I will hire a recent alumnus from the program.