Multidisciplinary artists try to ‘decode’ life

Left: Art from BIOTEKNICA

Canadian multidisciplinary artists Shawn Bailey and Jennifer Willet are teaming up to talk about the intriguing subject of “The Art of Decoding Life: Criticism, Parody & Satire on Science”, when they headline York’s Artist Speakers Series in the Department of Visual Arts.

Bailey and Willet’s talk is on Thursday, March 18, from 12:30 to 2pm in Room 214, Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts, and admission is free. The event includes a post-lecture reception where the public is invited to meet and chat with the artists in an informal atmosphere.

Bailey works in digital print media, video and installation, exhibiting and lecturing internationally. His research explores notions of authority, control structures, media and international biotech and pharmaceutical policies. A graduate of the University of Calgary and York University, he currently teaches print media at Concordia University and is an artist-researcher with the Hexagram Institute for Research and Creation in Media Arts and Technologies in Montreal.

Right: Jennifer Willet with one of her art works

Willet is a practicing artist who has exhibited and presented her research across Canada and internationally. Her work explores notions of self and subjectivity in relation to biomedical, bioinformatics and digital technologies with an emphasis on social and political criticism. As a doctoral student in the interdisciplinary humanities program at Concordia University, where she also teaches studio art, she applies literary theory to representations of the body and the emerging field of the digital arts.

Together, Bailey and Willet are developing a five-year multimedia project titled BIOTEKNICA. It is an evolving artistic research project and critical review focused on the future relationships between emerging biotechnologies and social development. BIOTEKNICA is strictly a dissemination vehicle for works of contemporary art based in reflexive criticism, parody and satire. Any resemblance to existing corporate or industrial institutions is unintentional. It has been presented throughout Canada, Spain, Germany and Scotland and will be presented in Australia, France, Montreal (Quebec) and London (Ontario) in 2004.

For more information about this event, call 416-736-5187 or e-mail

York’s Artist Speakers Series in the Department of Visual Arts gives students and the wider community access to leading visual artists and their work through illustrated talks, providing both personal and “big picture” insight into the contemporary visual arts scene in Canada. The series is coordinated by visual arts professor Michel Daigneault.