An Incubator in Sheep’s Clothing

An Incubator in Sheep’s Clothing
Jennifer Willet
2011

Jennifer Willet - An Incubator in Sheep’s Clothing, sheep sculpture, incubator, live yeast cultures, 2011

An INCUBATOR in Sheep’s Clothing is a life-sized sculpture of a mountain sheep with a peek-a-boo door opening to a functional incubator in the stomach of the animal.  The sculpture is constructed primarily with wood, Styrofoam, and covered in sheep’s wool and leather – providing quite a natural appearance and smell.  The enclosed incubator houses live yeast samples visible through the window in the incubator door.

This work is intended to challenge the austere aesthetics of contemporary laboratory equipment design.  An incubator’s primary function is to reproduce the conditions of a healthy mammal body in which to store and propagate laboratory specimens.  It is often said in scientific circles that the ideal incubator is in fact a living mammal body – with the exact temperature – co2 levels – nutrient properties – by which to cultivate living specimens.  This principle has been put into scientific practice in hundreds of labs internationally where animal surrogates serve as host organisms for interspecies research involving sustaining organs, fetuses, and cells within the bodies of third party specimens.

Construction and Design Assistance: Billie McLaughlin.

Sponsors:

SSHRC – Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada

School for Arts and Creative innovation – The University of Windsor

Ontario Arts Council – Integrated Arts Program