Heather Dewey-Hagborg Art or Stolen DNA

Recently Heather Dewey-Hagborg flipped a whole lot of people out by taking random swabs of people’s “dropped” DNA and converting it into busts and displaying them in an art gallery.  The show was entitled “Stranger Visions”.  Specifically the samples she was “finding” were from people in and around New York City, but they could have been from anywhere.

“We are shedding our biological information all the time without knowing it,” Dewey-Hagborg explained. “I think anonymity should be a choice.”  Her follow up project was a spray that allows one to obscure your DNA traces so that it is more difficult for anyone to follow your genetic trail.  Which is all well and good.  But I’m still stuck on this idea of someone bussing my table and then swabbing my water glass and using my DNA to plaster my likeness across a gallery.  So much so I figured I’d try it and see how it felt.  I dropped a photo of myself carved into a mask similar to what Heather would have crafted, and overlayed myself into her gallery.



Click the photos for a larger version.  And yeah, that’s weird.  Not just weird – wrong.  I can’t imagine.  And we know that the technology is accurate because there are photos of people with their own faces next to their DNA created duplicates.  Which is just crazy to see just how accurate it really is.  Regardless, this is one art show I wouldn’t want to be a part of, wittingly, or unwittingly.  I don’t think she has done anything wrong to pull this off.  But what if she had mounted your genitals to the wall?  Right?!  What’s stopping her?  Not a dern thing.  Or, no wait, your heart.  Or mounting the expected life expectancy below your bust.

Now we see where my concern is here?  I personally don’t think privacy is possible.  I’ve written about that extensively before.  And I even have a new post talking more extensively about this reality and the Sony hack.  But this level of DNA hackage is much much worse.  If you expand your mind even a little more you’ll see that maybe someone could decide to abduct you for your liver because of the results of your swab.  Or eyes?  Right.  Pretty freaky stuff.

Anyway, this happy post was brought to you by the letter S and the number 12.