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ESSAYS

Genetic Expressionism

by Chin-Chin Yap

The strange encounter between protecting individual’s 
privacy and artist’s creative freedoms

HEATHER DEWEY-HAGBORG, Stranger Visions: Sample 2, Cigarette Butt, 2013, 

photograph of evidence collected on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. 

Testing DNA on the cigarette butt revealed the smoker to be a male of Eastern European descent with brown eyes. 

Courtesy the artist.


Imagine a future in which a stranger could scoop up your stray hair or cigarette butt from the sidewalk, extract and sequence your DNA using a DNA analysis kit ordered online, and assemble

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