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Umwelt Microbiana

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This essay discusses a series of collaborative artworks by Joel Ong and Mick Lorusso envisioning a "Microbial Witness," a quiet but powerful protagonist founded in the interstitial spaces of science, art, and mythology. The artists systematically catalog its umwelt--the environmental factors that affect it-- through the "Microbial Atlas." Ong and Lorusso propose that, through exposure to this artistic research process, their audience may also adopt an ecological/moral responsibility through a shared empathy with, and respect for, the microbial world. This work continues their joint artistic querying of the role and position of the artist as “witness" in the spaces and artefacts of the scientific laboratory.
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Keywords: art; microbe; mythology; science; umwelt; witness

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor of Computational Arts, York University, Toronto 2: Independent Artist

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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  • PUBLIC is a beautifully designed peer-reviewed journal founded in Toronto as an intellectual and creative forum that focuses on how theoretical, and critical issues intersect with art and visual culture. Each issue's editors explore a contemporary theme by bringing together a unique assemblage of Canadian and international art projects with writing by scholars, curators, critics, and artists. This, along with book and exhibit reviews, creates an assemblage of artists projects and original writing on prescient contemporary themes in art and culture.
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