“13 ≠ 12 ≠ 12.2 : Genetics Project”

DESCRIPTION:

The artist sent her genetic material to three separate Genealogy Project labs and collected the results as they were provided to her by the companies, displaying them side by side in order to draw attention to the inconsistencies of values and language therein.  (see statement below)

13 ≠ 12 ≠ 12.2 (Genetics Project). 2015. Screenshots of official test results provided by National Geographic, Ancestry.com, and 23andME in response to the artist's genetic material.

13 ≠ 12 ≠ 12.2 (Genetics Project). 2015. Screenshots of official test results provided by National Geographic, Ancestry.com, and 23andME in response to the artist’s genetic material.

 

STATEMENT:

As a field rooted in objective observations of the concrete universe, Science, and scientific discourse, implies a certain authority over what is “real.” The terms employed by scientific discourse are largely understood as fixed and coherent elements of reality around which subjective experiences may navigate.

Although the lived experience of Race and racial identity formation is often complex: nuanced, subjective, and even self-contradictory, Race itself is generally regarded as a stable concept. Terms such as “Black/African American,” “White/Non-Hispanic” and “Hispanic/Latino” are primarily accepted as fixed terms with definable qualities and boundaries—real and valid means of describing ourselves and others.

It is my belief that our cultural investment in Race as “true” is mirrored by, and to some extent grounded in, the use of Race and racial categorization within scientific projects and language. Genealogy projects such as The Geno-Graphic project sponsored by National Geographic and the business of racial identification via DNA testing exampled by programs such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe reinforce our cultural understanding of race as objectively real.

By sending my own genetic material to the three primary DNA testing labs in the US: National Geographic, Ancestry.com, and 23andME, I have subjected myself and my own racial identity to authoritative analysis. The subtle inaccuracies or inconsistencies between these results, I submit as a as an interrogation of that “real.”