[ISEA2013] Paper: Rebecca Clunn – DIY DNA Visualization: a preliminary method


Keywords: performance art, DNA, DIYbio, visualization, large data, portraiture

This paper offers a brief history to bio- practice. A preliminary DIY method undertaken by the author will be followed by a discussion of the particular practical, technical and legal implications for the large scale collecting and imaging human DNA . The paper concludes with areas of future research and further questions. The findings presented are the result of research from the work “ONE: a durational performance by Rebecca Cunningham and all of you”

ONE is a performance that may take
ONE lifetime
ONE person
sitting opposite ONE person
there is ONE exchange
ONE sample of DNA is collected
if desired ONE sample of DNA is exchanged
this will happen ONE million times
until ONE million samples have been collected
once ONE million samples from
ONE million people has been collected
each DNA sample will be imaged. From ONE million DNA images
ONE will be made, a composite of all
becoming ONE

This century, will we genetically modify food, pets, our children, ourselves? Information and sharing information is reaching immense speeds and saturation, but what happens to that grey area between public and private? When are our bodies our own, and when are we the property of the global social corpus? Living in times where we rarely put ourselves in situations where we need to trust each other, and in most cases given more reason to distrust, will you trust me with your most intimate material? Your DNA?

First presented at the Brisbane Festival, Under the Radar 2011, ONE has been to Sydney, LA, New York, USA & now in the UK. In 2012 ONE was in residence at The Queensland State Library: The Edge. Recently, the paper “DIY DNA Visualization” derived from research pertaining to this project was presented at CSIRO SPECTRA Conference on art and Science.

  • Rebecca Clunn, nee Cunningham is an Australian curator, sound, and performance artist

Full text (PDF) p. 384-387