A scientific and artistic collaboration by: Jason Pollen, Mol Mir, Steph Nowotarski, and William Plummer

January 30- March 7, 2020

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 30th, from 5-8pm

Free Parking in the Cherry St. Garage, levels 5 & 6

What if you could clone yourself from a piece of you as small as your fingertip? Or if you never scarred after an injury? What if you were effectively immortal?

Remarkably, for the planarian flatworm, specifically of the species Schmidtea mediterranea, these seemingly fantastical scenarios are quite ordinary. And they’ve been performing these biological feats on the planet for ages. Planarian ancestors likely existed before the Cambrian period, 146 million years ago, and flatworm relatives show up in the fossil record 40 million years ago. Despite their long history, as far as we can tell, they have remained largely unchanged. Flatworms like Schmidtea mediterranea can be found all over the world, from fountains in Italy, to lakes in Mexico, to our neighboring Brush Creek.

Four intergenerational artists have plunged into the muck of local waterways and emerged with an even greater appreciation for the complexity found, where, at first glance, there appears to be little to look at. Our exploration combined with a desire to facilitate empathetic cross-disciplinary dialog led to Body of Inquiry: The Art, Biology, and Being of Flatworms, a collaboration between art and science: two seldom yet undeniably-intertwined fields where sensory-perception, curiosity, and creative problem-solving converge.

The immersive installation at the UMKC gallery celebrates the joy of discovery, inviting visitors to engage with and observe planarian flatworms on micro, macro, and life-size scales. Explore our interpretations and examine your own in this two-room body of work featuring video projection, live planarians, and individual responses from each artist. What can these flatworms teach us about being human?