Wednesday, September 25, 2013

And now art and science have combined in a way that is both creepy and disturbing...

Does science scare anyone else?  Cause it terrifies the crap out of me!

Okay, that's not really fair.  Most of the time I love science.  Modern medicine?  Awesome!  Computer technology and the internet?  Wonderful!  And whatever mad scientist locked in a lab somewhere came up with the spray I use on the mold growing on my laundry ceiling, well I'm forever in your debt good sir!  Spray it on and three minutes later it's disappeared?  No scrubbing?

Oh the wonders of modern technology!

But DNA is kind of creeping me out right now.  All that information about us, and we leave it wherever we go, spreading it around town like some freaky type biological confetti.  Hair, skin cells, saliva, we're DNA shedding machines.

And then artists like this woman [link] just have to go and make it that much creepier by collecting our DNA from places like trains and buses, and then recreating our faces.

For those who are link-clicktually challenged, the article is about an artist who collects DNA samples she find in public places, from hair or cigarette buts or whatever she can get her hands on, and uses that DNA to work out an approximation of what the person may or may not look like.

I'm not sure how comfortable I am with this.  Just because I left my DNA behind, does that give someone else the right to use it like that?  Do I even have any rights over my abandoned DNA?  And what will happen when they improve cloning technology?  Will I have to be careful of every stray strand of hair, every skin cell, incase someone grabs it up and uses it to produce a mini-me?

I'm assuming it would be a mini-me, I pretty much learned all I know about cloning from Austin Powers movies.

To be fair, she doesn't claim to be exactly recreating a person.  She just takes genetic markers, ancestral information, and anything else the DNA tells her and creates a face that COULD be that person.  Also, because she can't tell how old the person is who left the DNA, she ages them all at around thirty years old.  So it's not really likely she has a cast of your face in her gallery.

Possible, but not likely.

38 comments:

  1. Forget the DNA crap, I want the name of the spray you are using to kill your ceiling mold. It runs rampant here in hot, humid, southeastern North Cackalacky.

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    1. Fill an empty Windex bottle with 50% bleach and 50% water and it will kill mold in about 30 seconds.

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    2. I tried the bleach thing, it didn't work for the stuff growing on my ceiling. But I found a video of a guy in New Zealand using a spray and within three minutes what he'd sprayed had disappeared completely. The stuff was called "Curtain Magic Ceiling & Wall Cleaner" and I had to order it from New Zealand, but it was worth every penny.

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  2. Please! Don't steal my DNA. I don't want to look up and see myself, especially my future self. I'm old enough when I look in the mirror. Don't frighten me even more.

    Love,
    Janie

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  3. Fascinating. Not scary at all...just fascinating.

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    1. Maybe you can send her a lock of hair and she'll do one of you :D

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  4. Just imagine, in the not too distant future you could collect someone's DNA samples, then take that information home and print them out on a 3D printer. The technology would either encourage stalkers, or eliminate them as they'd be locked up at home with a fully compliant version of you.

    Sweet dreams.

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    1. That's either the most awesome or the most scary thing I've ever heard of.

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  5. Yes I have always viewed the DNA advances as a slippery slope ya know? I am hoping we don't go too far with this...

    On a brighter note, I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday :)

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    1. I'm never sure whether it'll turn out to be a good thing or a bad thing. I guess time will tell.

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  6. It's an interesting mix of art and science, but like much modern art the idea appears to be far more interesting than the artwork itself.

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    1. Very true. Sometimes I think all you have to do is say "It's modern art" and you can get away with just about anything.

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  7. Fascinating! But I need the name of that spray! I volunteered in a fossil lab for years where facial reconstructions were done from skulls ~ but this gives new meaning to the art! It doesn't creep me out. I think it's quite fascinating and creative. Have you read the book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot? Now the story of what was done with her HELA cells is creepy. And scary! Ethics rarely keeps up with scientific progress!

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    1. The spray is called "Curtain Magic Ceiling & Wall" and it comes from New Zealand. They also make a curtain cleaner so you have to make sure you get the one that's for ceilings and walls.

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  8. Well it's making her a name. I suppose that's as good a reason as any to go and collect strange DNA and comprise these masks from them. It just goes to show you the selfishness inherent within artists. They don't care about invading your privacy as long as it gets them famous.

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  9. I am more concerned about who is funding this. What she is doing it not groundbreaking.

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  10. Isn't there any law that would restrain her from doing it??It's really really creepy..I don't another of me..I quite enjoy of being unique..imagine one day I will walking down the road, with large shopping bags in hand and from otherside some clone of me will cross me..aahhh..grossssssssssss...!

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  11. She's a modern-day Madame Tussaud. Who was super creepy in her own time, because all her wax likenesses were made from casts of the guillotined heads of French nobility. Nice.

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  12. All this does is leave me with questions, such as Why? and Who is paying for this? and People don't buy these faces, do they? It's just a bunch of normal, everyday faces that have nothing to do with the person who left the DNA. I don't even see how she is called an artist for doing this.

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    1. I definitely wouldn't want one of them hanging on my wall!

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  13. Ah yes, that IS quite creepy! Science is disturbing sometimes. But what's more creepy and disturbing is organized religion. Especially the evangelical Christian kind. Those humans could use a lot more science.. creepy or not. (Sorry that was off your subject, but those faces in your photo remind me of some dazed Christians i know.)

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    1. LOL! It does make me wonder what evangelical christians think of it though.

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  14. That is creepy. I agree that I am not comfortable with someone scooping up my DNA for any purpose. The only positive thing that I can see about it is, she is recreating my 30 year old face. Does my DNA know what my face looked like 30 years ago??? I bet not.

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    1. LOL! I guess there's only one way to find out, leave some DNA lying around and see if she finds it.

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  15. So if you're ever arrested and the evidence against you is DNA based, could your defense be this lady framed you? That's what I would claim. :)

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  16. Wait a second, one of those is ME! But I'm WAY more tan than...I'm way more thin and tan than that!

    On an unrelated note, when you set links, can I ask, not as a criticism but as a request, that you set the link to "open in a new window"? I want to keep reading and not hit the back button. Yeah, I AM that lazy.

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  17. Whoa, I'm just creeped out that a person is going around cultivating people's DNA.

    I also love the part where the journalist says "She wants her work to raise questions about genetic surveillance and privacy issues." Excellent, let's raise awareness about privacy infringements by intruding on people's privacy.

    Not sure where this artist resides, but if she were in Canada, we'd be sic'ing the Privacy Commissioner on her.

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