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NATURE Lab Workshop with Heather Dewey-Hagborg: Who Do You Think You Are- DNA Ancestry and Biosurveillance

November 28, 2018 @ 3:00 pm 7:00 pm EST

Bioartist Heather Dewey-Hagborg's side profile in front of a white wall with two generated faces on the wall on either side of her. She has short brown hair and is wearing a black shirt.

A collection of dismembered technologically generated faces.

How much can you learn about a stranger from a stray cigarette butt? Our DNA can reveal stories about us—including our ancestry, disease risks, physical characteristics, and predispositions.

These stories pass from parent to child hidden within our cells. Today, millions of people have explored their DNA to uncover these stories using direct-to-consumer sequencing services. In the process, new questions about ancestry and the predictive power of the genome have arisen.

What does (and doesn’t) your DNA reveal? How are emerging genetic technologies reinforcing age old stereotypes and what can we do to subvert them?

A cartoon comic of Heather Dewey-Hagborg, in which she states "What on some level, and to some extent, makes you you, is up for grabs, and those are really high stakes, i think." with a depiction of her with long blonde hair and blue eyes. Above her reads the words "team human".

In this workshop we will take a tour of DIY biotech including DNA extraction, phenotyping, and concoction of our own genetic obfuscation spray. We will explore the present and future of biological surveillance and discuss what you can do to resist it. Funded by NEA BioArt Futures…

Heather Dewey-Hagborg is a transdisciplinary artist and educator who is interested in art as research and critical practice. Her controversial biopolitical art practice includes the project Stranger Visions in which she created portrait sculptures from analyses of genetic material (hair, cigarette butts, chewed up gum) collected in public places. Heather has shown work internationally at events and venues including the World Economic Forum, the Shenzhen Urbanism and Architecture Biennale, the Van Abbemuseum, Transmediale and PS1 MOMA. Her work is held in public collections of the Centre Pompidou, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the New York Historical Society, and has been widely discussed in the media, from the New York Times and the BBC to Art Forum and Wired. Heather has a PhD in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is an artist fellow at AI Now, and an affiliate of Data & Society. She is also a co-founder and co-curator of REFRESH, an inclusive and politically engaged collaborative platform at the intersection of Art, Science, and Technology.

3361 6th Ave
Troy, 12180 United States
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