NATURE Lab workshop– Who Do You Think You Are?: DNA ancestry and biosurveillance with bioartist Heather Dewey-Hagborg

Date(s) - 11/28/2018
3:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Please register for this workshop as well as any others you’d like to participate in by clicking here.

3-6PM: Workshop

6-7PM: Social time with artist

$10 Suggested Donation

Our DNA can reveal stories about us—including our ancestry, geographic origins, and cultural heritage. 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 have arisen. In this workshop, we will use a hand-held DNA sequencer—the cutting-edge Oxford Nanopore MinION—to explore DNA and ancestry. The tiny device can be plugged into a laptop and reveal in hours what consumer services need weeks to accomplish.

In the “Who Do You Think You Are?” workshop, we will walk through MinION analysis, explore large data sets, and reveal the ancestry of a mystery individual. We will then dive deeper into the DNA sequences to uncover some of their dark secrets. Accompanying this workshop will be a lecture/discussion entitled Privacy in the Era of Personal Genomics. Funded by NEA BioArt Futures.

Take a look at some of Heather’s work:


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.


Tagged with: