In September 2016, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and the Data Physicalization Lab at the University of Lethbridge invited six artists to participate in a residency, documentary film, and exhibition that asked them to respond to agricultural data developed by Dr. Jamie Larsen and Dr. André Laroche from the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre: Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. Two datasets were provided: The first is the result of an experiment on breeding cereal wheats and wheat grasses with the intention of developing a perennial wheat cultivar; the second relates to experimentation in genetic modification aimed at reducing wheat’s susceptibility to the devastating pathogen known as stripe rust. The artists were invited to engage with the instruments, test subjects, contexts, methods, and people associated with the development of this data, which they would later consider while creating new work for this exhibition. The aim of this endeavour is to investigate the effect of intensive collaboration – how artists can use scientific process to guide their art, and how scientists can use artistic ways of knowing to approach their data in new ways.
This exhibition is organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and the Data Physicalization Lab at the University of Lethbridge, and curated by Christina Cuthbertson, Leanne Elias, and Denton Fredrickson. The documentary film, Visualizing Agriculture, is directed by Bryn Hewko of Output Media and scheduled for release in 2019.