Who owns your DNA? The answer to this is not nearly as self-evident as one might expect. As corporations collect and commercialize genomic data, artists and activists have turned to biohacking to assert their own autonomy at the molecular level. Biohacking: A Conversation Between Artists and Scientists brings together Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Sophie Zaaijer to discuss the social, political, and scientific implications of DIY bioengineering. With moderator Dorothy Santos, the panel will consider how biohackers can foreground autonomy and biomedical consent even as genomic data is increasingly capitalized as a surveillance tool, among other topics.
Dr. Heather Dewey-Hagborg is an artist and biohacker who is interested in art as research and technological critique. Her work is held in public collections of the Centre Pompidou, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Wellcome Collection, the Exploratorium, and the New York Historical Society, among others. Heather has a Ph.D. in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a visiting assistant professor of Interactive Media at NYU Abu Dhabi, an artist fellow at AI Now, an Artist-in-Residence at the Exploratorium, and is 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.
Dr. Sophie Zaaijer is CEO and founder of FIND Genomics. FIND Genomics aims to accelerate biomedicine through high accuracy cell-based science and is backed by the Jacobs Technion- Cornell Institute. Dr. Zaaijer previously co-founded PlayDNA; an initiative that aimed to bring hands-on genomics and data science education to middle, high school and undergraduate education. Dr. Zaaijer did her postdoctoral research at the New York Genome Center and Columbia University after completing her Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics at Cancer Research UK in London and her research studies at the NIH and Harvard Medical School.
Dorothy R. Santos (moderator) is a Filipina American writer, artist, and educator whose academic and research interests include feminist media histories, critical medical anthropology, technology, race, and ethics. She is a PhD student in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow. Her work as been exhibited at Ars Electronica, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the GLBT Historical Society. Her writing appears in art21, Art in America, Ars Technica, Hyperallergic, Rhizome, Vice Motherboard, and SF MOMA’s Open Space. She is a co-founder of REFRESH, a politically-engaged art and curatorial collective, and serves as the Executive Director for the Processing Foundation.
Helena Shaskevich is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at The Graduate Center. She is currently writing her dissertation on biopolitics in feminist video art during the 1970s and building a digital archive of the New York Women’s Video Festivals.
Aubrey Knox is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at The Graduate Center. Aubrey’s research explores the interdependency of art and medicine through the transformation of the Grand Palais into a military hospital in World War I.