Milieux Institute celebrates its 1-year Anniversary

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On March 31, Milieux Institute celebrated its one year anniversary and we have been busy! In celebration, we’ve taken a look back at some of the research clusters’ most memorable talks, workshops, projects, symposiums, and exhibitions.

This past year the Speculative Life Cluster has hosted a number of exciting workshops and speakers. Some of the activities organized by lab technician and principal investigator, WhiteFeather, explored intersections between research clusters, such as with the Textiles and Materiality Research Cluster. We made prints on fabric and paper using pigmented bacteria, trekked through the Quebec wilderness to visit a snow hydrology research station, genetically modified E. coli using CRISPR technology, and are growing cellulose as a biomaterial for fabrication.

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Lab member, Maya Hey, gives a tour of the Speculative Life BioLab.

We also hosted a public talk on tissue engineering with biophysicist Dan Modulevsky of the Pelling Lab at uOttawa, a talk and workshop on immortality and cell lines with Marta de Menezes, grad student consultations with bioartist Joe Davis, and a talk on “Waste Matters” with bioartist Kathy High.

Working across multiple scales of engagement, from the microbial to the human body to the city and global infrastructure, to questions of the environment and big data, Speculative Life has spent the last year settling in to our new spaces, establishing two labs (bio and ethnography), learning and sharing new and experimental skills though workshopping and building our identity within Milieux as hybrid spaces of research-creation, with a commitment to experimentation, imagination and futurity…

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WhiteFeather Hunter on an upcoming episode of TVNZ’s DNA Detectives, shot in the lab.

In the bio lab, a hybrid space for exploring the relationship between living and built systems, MDes student Théo Chauvirey has been growing mycellium on designed scaffolds to be used as building materials for prototype eco-furniture, PhD student Maya Hay has been investigating food fermentation processes such as lacto-fermentation.

A rare and exciting mix of makers, artists, scientists and thinkers, the cluster advocates for hands-on and experimental practices that require getting messy and causing productive disruptions in the wet-lab and our main cluster space.

*Adapted from text by Treva Pullen and WhiteFeather Hunter. Read the full report, here.

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