Oxford’s hosting unique exhibit with “misbits” gallery

Published 10:12 am Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A new exhibit at Misbits (stylized as “misbits”) gallery in Oxford will literally be creating quite the buzz.

That’s because the work being displayed from artist Reiko Yamada is based around fruit flies, or drosophila.

The exhibit, “Small Small Things,” which exists in three parts, is based around Yamada’s study when she was a fellow last year at Harvard University. She gained inspiration for the project from Robert Huber, another fellow who is a drosophila behavioral expert.

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“He and I joked how we can together create an interactive installation for fruit flies if we combine our knowledge and skills,” Yamada said. “After I moved to Graz, Austria to work at the Institute for Electronic Music and Acoustics, I found myself increasingly fascinated with the auditory mechanism of fruit flies and smallness of their world, so I decided to go ahead with the project.”

The three works, which mainly assume the forms of sound and video installations, provide an “interdisciplinary performance” through which Yamada hopes guests will make connections between their lives and that of the tiny fruit flies.

“What fascinates me the most about fruit flies is how similar they are to us, the humans,” the artist said. “Many questions were raised in my mind while I learned more about drosophila, but one question, in particular, became a center of my focus: the big nature versus nurture question. I thought a lot about their free will, and in turn, how it relates to our own free will.”

Valerie Polgar, the founder of the gallery, became aware of Yamada’s work through the artist’s partner, Nicolas Trépanier, an associate professor at Ole Miss. Yamada has had work presented in the state previously in Water Valley and with a short documentary entitled “85% Broken”.

“The moment that I learned of Reiko and her work and the fact that she had strong ties in Mississippi, I felt confident that I could continue my career regardless of location, and that was a very empowering realization,” Polgar, who recently relocated to Oxford last summer, said in an email. “I was very excited for the opportunity and am so happy that the timing and space/s worked out for her to be able to share her current body of work with us.”

“Small Small Things” will be on display at Misbits until June 10 and a reception with Yamada will take place tonight at 5:15 at the gallery (1415 University Avenue, Suite L).