WhiteFeather Hunter


30.11 — 21.12 / 2018

Vernissage 30 November 2018 – 5pm to 7pm

Salivam is the culmination of several months of collaborative laboratory research between WhiteFeather Hunter, Sporobole’s (bio)artist-in-residence and Dr Denis Groleau, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Microorganisms and Industrial Processes at Université de Sherbrooke.

The research process encapsulated not only scientific laboratory experiments punctuated by art-based DIYbio approaches, but was also a process of developing a non-hierarchical transdisciplinary research relationship within an academic setting.

The Salivam project utilizes the techniques of bacterial culture, enzyme extraction and collagen degradation to address themes and concepts developed by the researchers. Some of these are: intimacy, including bacto-intimacy, or the micro-proximity of bacteria cells with their substrates during their metabolic processes, as well as industrial biotech product development from classic artistic materials, and a humorous critique of the technological hype around anti-aging formulas.

Together, the researchers successfully isolated and purified nonpathogenic strains of Bacillus cereus from soil samples taken from the site of the historic Village des Tanneries in Montreal, as well as directly from the artist’s saliva. These samples, which began as unknown micro-ecologies, over time revealed their capacity to produce a strong collagen-digesting enzyme. These enzymes have been extracted and filtered in order to explore their use for creating sculptural collagen drawings, as well as their potential for human use.


crédits photo : Tanya St-Pierre


WhiteFeather is a Canadian artist/researcher, educator, consultant and writer currently based in Montreal. WhiteFeather has been professionally engaged in a craft-based bioart practice for 15 years, via material investigations of the functional, artistic and technological potential of bodily matter. Her latest focus, spanning the last three years, is on biotextile experimentation and creation of new, vital specimens through hands-on tissue engineering. She also enjoys hacking electronic laboratory apparatuses. WhiteFeather is a multiple-award winner, holding an MFA in Fibres and Material Practices from Concordia University. She has participated in art-sci research-creation residencies at SymbioticA Centre of Excellence in Biological Art (University of Western Australia), Pelling Lab for Biophysical Manipulation (uOttawa), and Fluxmedia Lab (Concordia University). WhiteFeather recieved the FRQSC Étudiants-chercheurs étoiles prize in March 2016 for her project, Crafting Biotextiles.