First off, a really nice post on the smithsonian blog about my work:
More to come soon!
WNYC and PRI’s Studio 360 did a great feature on my Stranger Visions project:
I received an anonymous sample of hair, and made a portrait of this person’s DNA – see the results below!
I am excited to participate in the Eyebeam annual showcase, opening Thursday! They are moving from a twice a year open studios show to a once a year retrospective of the work of residents and fellows from the past year. It is a great group of artists and looks like it will be a fantastic show.
I will be showing the latest developments in my Stranger Visions project, unveiling the first portrait derived from found material as well as a video documenting the process.
I just came back from the 3rd Mediations Biennial in Poznan Poland, a truly international affair selected by 4 different curators and including 150 artists from all over the world.
WELL it was quite an ordeal installing my collaboration with video installation artist Adriana Varella Unlanguage but in the end we did it, and it looks fantastic. (picture coming soon…) We exhibited in the Zamek – a sort of pretend castle built just 100 years ago and home to Hitler’s cabinet during WWII – an artist actually made a site-specific piece for Hitler’s office that involved freezing a giant sheet of water and ash but appropriately the power went out and the ice melted and ended up destroying the room. A fitting fairwell to Hitler’s office I think although the Biennale staff were not so happy about it! More about the surprisingly interesting zamek on wikipedia.
The piece is something I am thinking of as a kind of finale to the body of work I have been experimenting with the past 9(!) years addressing language in various forms. The works in the series begin with Netlingua, my Bennington undergraduate thesis project and continue to Listening Post, Totem, Jaaga Dhvani and finally Unlanguage.
The piece is interactive. Two computer terminals encourage gallery-goers to enter the first word that comes to their mind. When a new word is entered a poem is generated using these two inputs as seeds. The poem grows and branches showing the permutations and possibilities native to the Bayesian model underpinning the program. Each time a new poem is formed the previous poem begins to mutate and eventually self-destruct and fade away.
Here is a video that gives a sense of what this looks like:
I’m sure that I will continue to work with language ( I have a dissertation to write after all!) but right now I feel ready to move on to a different frame of reference and some new ideas… more on new ideas soon!
Here are some nice pics Dan Phiffer took of my work-in-progress installation in the Eyebeam bookstore.
I am very happy to report that I am featured in this week’s science magazine! The magazine isn’t freely available online but I am posting just the little section on me here in case anyone is interested in reading it!
Facing the Genetic Future
Sitting in a therapist’s office, New York City artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg discovered a hair
lodged in a crack in the glass covering a painting on the wall. “I stared at it for an hour,”
she says. “I couldn’t stop wondering who it belonged to, and what I could find out about
After reading a story in Science about the new field of forensic DNA phenotyping
(18 February 2011, p. 838), Dewey-Hagborg decided to turn her fascination into an art
project. She collected 11 hairs left around the city by strangers and learned how to test their
DNA at a genetics lab. Now, she’s printing three dimensional masks, or approximations, of those
people’s faces, which will be on display—along with her own—in a January exhibition called Stranger
Visions. The masks reflect eye color, geographical roots, sex, and other traits, but not exact facial
features because forensic phenotyping can’t fill in all the details. But it might one day, and with ever
cheaper sequencing, an era of “genetic surveillance” is looming, says Dewey-Hagborg. “As a society, we
need to have a discussion about that.”