DodoLab is an evolving collaborative program lead by artists Lisa Hirmer and Andrew Hunter engaged with provocative, experimental and creative approaches to research and community actions. Their work is critically playful and highly public, emphasizing open participation and exchange. The state of the natural world, adaptive challenges to communities and institutions, the built environment and cities in transition are their primary areas of interest. They employ creative interventions, surprise encounters, innovative publishing and design, and genuine collaborations to enhance and encourage public conversations, dialogue and knowledge sharing within and across cultures, generations, disciplines (and sometimes species). They are partially supported in their work by the Musagetes Foundation with whom they share a commitment to art as social catalyst. Their work is further supported by commissioned collaborations with individuals and organizations in Canada and Internationally (including universities, municipalities, social service organizations and the arts). DodoLab uses the archetypal extinct species in its name/logo as a reminder that we need to consider the risks of isolated and narrowly defined adaptive strategies (the Dodo could not survive outside of its predator free island environment). Are we “Dead as a Dodo” or potentially “Going the way of the Dodo” if we do not learn to adapt, change and work together? The dodo reminds us that a lack of resiliency and a solo existence is a precarious strategy for survival. For generations, the Dodo has also been understood to have been a slow, lazy, glutinous bird with limited intelligence. It is now believed that this large flightless bird may have actually been reasonably intelligent and active and that the unflattering characteristics usually associated with the bird may have been the result of encounters with overfed, captive species – basically, specimens living in an artificial, human designed environment of overabundance. This is a reminder that sometimes the stories we tell become barriers to understanding and resolving the issues we face.

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