Who Do You Think You Are? DNA Ancestry and Biosurveillance with Bioartist Heather Dewey-Hagborg

Who Do You Think You Are?  DNA Ancestry and Biosurveillance  with Bioartist Heather Dewey-Hagborg


3:00 pm - 7:00 pm


The Sanctuary for Independent Media
3361 6th Avenue, North Troy, New York, 12180

Event Type

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

3-6PM: Workshop

*Please bring a laptop or tablet to work on, and if you have performed a direct-to-consumer genetic test (i.e. 23andme, ancestry.com, etc.) feel free to bring your raw data file of login credentials to access the data.

6-7PM: Social time with artist

$10 Suggested Donation

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?

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.

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.