Artist Projects

Sell/Bio


Heather Dewey-Hagborg

Sell/Bio excavates the histories, infrastructures, protocols and business models that position the most personal of information—an individual’s DNA—as a commodity to be bought and sold on the open market, examining the dubious transformation of human bodies into corporate profits. Rebecca Skloot’s bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks brought international attention to the ethics of medical research based upon the exploitation of human cells taken from a vulnerable patient without her consent. This book describes a forbear of a practice that has expanded dramatically while remaining relatively unregulated. Sell/Bio connects the dots, giving a face and a name to supposedly anonymous DNA, derived from human cells and put up for sale, presenting a visceral portrayal of the invisible subjects of biological exploitation.