Pissed! Urine ammoniacal fermentation and practical ethnolichenology

Researcher: WhiteFeather Hunter, Speculative Life BioLab Technician and Co-Principal Investigator

Collaborator: Marion Carrier, MA student, Concordia University/ Ethnography Lab member


Project scope:

“Ur, a Germanic prefix connoting “proto“ — something on the way to becoming — also forms the first syllable of the word, urine. This alchemic reference resonates with its inherent transformative magic, as an essential ingredient in traditions of pigment extraction from organisms such as lichen via fermentation processes that convert the waste fluid to ammonia. This use of lichen species and fermentation in natural textile dye processes is worthy of deeper contemplation as an act of political resistance and of symbiotic creative activity with nonhuman organisms.”

Cultivars, Subtle Technologies Festival v.20. Natalie Logan photo.

Activities/ Publications:

  • Artist residency at the Icelandic Textile Centre, Blondüós, Iceland
  • Fermenting Feminism publication and exhibitions, curated by Lauren Fornier, in partnership with the Lab for Aesthetics and Ecology, Berlin: Broken Dimanche Press/ Büro BDP (Berlin), Meter Artist-Run Centre (Copenhagen) and Front Space (Kansas City)
  • Warten auf die Transformationtaz. die tageszeitung, Berlin Kultur
  • Cultivars – banner exhibition for Subtle Technologies Festival v. 20, InterAccess Gallery, Toronto
  • Plurality of Being by Zach Pearl (curatorial essay)
  • ‘Possible Worlds’: This Toronto bioart exhibit challenges and expands our definition of life, CBC Arts

  • The Body Electric exhibition, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada International Conference on Resident Education (ICRE), Quebec City; Associated Medical Services (AMS) Phoenix Invitational Conference, Toronto

  • Artist residency at Kilpisjärvi Biological Research Station, Helsinki University, Finland (upcoming)
  • Artist talk, Helsinki University, Finland (upcoming)
Video still from blóm + blóð by WhiteFeather

Partners/ supporters for the research activities:

  • Canada Council for the Arts
  • Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
  • Milieux Institute

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