As part of “Trust Me I’m an Artist” series, WAAG Society, The Netherlands
Jennifer Willet & Kira O’Reilly

Kira O’Reilly & Jennifer Willet - Be-Wildering photograph WAAG Society, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2017 (Photo Credit: Bas de Brouwer)

Do you trust me?

Why do you trust me?

Do I trust myself?

Jennifer Willet and Kira O’Reilly have collaborated on a project-by-project basis since they met whilst both artists in residency at SymbioticA, University of Western Australia in 2004.  They have trained together in vitro tissue culture techniques, performed non-human ‘animality’ with cell cultures, they have climbed into aseptic work environments disorientating scientific scrutiny, and have folded and unfolded bodily refigurations in various laboratory settings.

For Trust Me I’m an Artist, their work again intersected, this time in a performative ethics review of different but parallel practices escaping from the studio or the laboratory, and into the wilderness.  Part performance, part lecture, part bureaucratic response and procedural rebellion O’Reilly and Willet proposed a series of real and imagined attempts at ‘re-wilding’ their art/science practices.  They proposed to enact twin sets of installations in Canada along the coastline of the Great Lakes, and in the forests of Finland.  Unruly laboratory and performance practices will challenge notions of pollution, invasiveness, toxicity, and discrete national boundaries in interspecies dispersal actions; calling into question the possibility of a wilderness at all.

Be-wildering was presented to a “Trust me, I’m an artist” ethics panel on May 12, 2017. The event took place in the historical anatomical theatre of the Waag building in Amsterdam.  Members of the ethics review panel were Prof. Dr. Sabine Roeser, professor of ethics at Technical University Delft, Prof Dr. Toby Kiers, microbiologist at Free University Amsterdam, Karin Spaink, journalist, feminist and activist, Chris Bisson, botanist and policy development manager at the Eden project, Cornwall College, Truro, UK. Dr. Ellen ter Gast, biologist and philosopher, chaired the panel and Lucas Evers moderated the event.

This installment of Trust Me I’m an Artist was Co-Curated by Anna Dumitriu and Lucas Evers at the WAAG Society in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  Project website:

Willet Project Assistant: Billie Mclaughlin

Willet Project Supporters: SSHRC Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, University of Windsor, and WAAG Society.