Blake Wood
Publish Date

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is pleased to present 180,000+, a mixed-media art exhibition by Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmuki. These artists operate under the guise of PlantBot Genetics, a parody of Big Agricultural Firms who skillfully manipulate current food production and distribution systems. 180,000+ will open on Monday, Aug. 23, and will run through Thursday, Sept. 16. A reception will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9 in the gallery.

Relying on art installations, interventions and collaborations that combine activism, research and social space, PlantBot Genetics fosters discussion and ecological awareness. 1800,000+ provokes investigation into current agricultural practices, inspiring others to think more critically about farming, economic level, education and art. By linking environmental issues to a diverse array of creative operations and tactics, PlantBot Genetics demonstrate the fragile connection between the natural world and personal action.

In conjunction with this exhibit, the artists have recorded an ECCE Speaker Series lecture that will become available on the UIS Visual Arts Gallery website by Sept. 1 at

About PlantBot Genetics:

PlantBot Genetics 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 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.

Wendy DesChene (Canada) and Jeff Schmuki (USA) began working together as PlantBot Genetics in 2009. Each has prior experience and awards as solo artists before forming their collaboration and both were raised with strong connections to the land around them. 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.

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

The UIS Visual Arts Gallery is centrally located on the UIS campus in the Health and Science Building, room 201 (HSB 201). Gallery hours are 11. a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Masks are required, regardless of vaccination status, on campus.

For more information, visit the UIS Visual Arts Gallery website at or contact the gallery at 217-206-6506 or

News Categories