Awardee: Heather Dewey-Hagborg

Emerging Fields, 2016

Heather Dewey-Hagborg is a New York-based transdisciplinary artist and educator who is interested in art as research and critical practice. She works in diverse media ranging from biology, and computation, to sculpture, performance and design. She has shown work internationally at events and venues including the World Economic Forum; Shenzhen Urbanism and Architecture Bienniale; Poland Mediations Biennale; the Article Biennial in Norway; the Centre Pompidou; Ars Electronica in Linz; Transmediale in Berlin; Centre de Cultura Contemporánia de Barcelona; the Science Gallery Dublin; MoMA PS1, the New Museum, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, and the New York Public Library in New York City. Her work has been widely discussed in the media, from The New York Times and BBC to TED Talks and Wired. She has participated in policy conversations at the Woodrow Wilson Policy Center and the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board.

Project: T3511

T3511 tells the (mostly) true story of a biohacker who becomes increasingly obsessed with an anonymous donor whose saliva she purchases online. Through sculptural cinema and performative installation the work draws the viewer into an emerging world of ubiquitous genomic sequencing, biobanking, and commodification of human biological materials. T3511 is the story of data, how the interpretation of data is always narrative and personal. It is a story about the hidden intimacy of lab work: washing cells, feeding them, keeping them warm. It is about vulnerability; the vulnerability to surveillance in our genomic time, and the vulnerability of falling for someone and opening yourself to the possibility of love. Finally, it is a story about the impossibility of love, and of ever really knowing another person. No matter how close or intimate you become, the clues they leave behind form the basis for their portrait in your head. T3511 explores these traces of presence and absence.