Artists Operate Under The Guise of “PlantBot Genetics Inc.”

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Artists Wendy DesChene (Canada) and Jeff Schmuki (USA) operate under the guise of PlantBot Genetics Inc., a parody of Big Agricultural Firms who skillfully manipulate current food production and distribution systems. PlantBot Genetics, Inc. combines tactical media and public space to promote critical thinking and political action on environmental issues. By imitating actual corporate practice, they underscore the potential consequences of the global corporatization of agriculture, the natural environment, and public space.

The PlantBot Genetics, Inc. project explores the lack of transparency and corporate “grafting” of food production and distribution by releasing humorous next-generation, robot-plant hybrids to prompt critical discussion on the environmental costs of intensive agricultural practices.

DesChene and Schmuki began working together as PlantBot Genetics in 2009. Both were raised with strong connections to the land around them and each has prior experience and awards as solo artists. PlantBot Genetics has exhibited and/or completed projects at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the Pulitzer Foundation for Art in St Louis, Missouri; and the Goethe Institute of Cairo, Egypt.

In 2010, a significant contribution to their body of work was produced at the American Academy in Rome as visiting artists. Recent exhibitions include Foodture at the Elaine L Jacob Gallery of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan; PlantBot Genetics: a Critical Contact Exhibition Series at the Cafritz Foundation Arts Center in Takoma Park, Maryland; and artist lectures and studio visits at Long Island University in Brookville, New York.

Jeff Schmuki is the 2020 Frances Niederer Artist-in-Residence at Hollins University. Established by an anonymous donor in 1997, the endowed Frances Niederer Artist-in-Residence program allows Hollins to bring a nationally recognized artist to campus each academic year. In residence during the spring semester, the visiting artist creates work in a campus studio and teaches an art seminar open to all students.

Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmuki: Biophilia
Exhibition dates: Thursday, January 30 – Sunday, April 26, 2020
Artists’ lecture: Monday, March 9, 6pm with reception to follow

ELEANOR D. WILSON MUSEUM AT HOLLINS UNIVERSITY
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