I’m no scientist, but I’ve seen CSI: Miami. And it’s taught me a number of life lessons, from how to really put on a pair of glasses, to why one should outsource a rageful assassination. On the latter issue, it’s a matter of our DNA trails. Hairs, skin fragments and even bits of saliva one might leave on a Fresca can at the crime scene (because who amongst us doesn’t enjoy a cold, refreshing Fresca on a hot and murderous day) can bring the authorities right to you. And whamo. You’re busted.
DNA Spoofing: DIY Counter-Surveillance, by Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Adam Harvey, Aurelia Moser and Allison Burtch for Art Hack Day, is a four-minute tongue-in-cheek counterpoint to a world in which everything about us is traceable. Watch as women swap gum, hair and even nails, all in the name of their own privacy. I warn you, the accompanying sound effects are not for the squeamish.
Interesting enough, the piece is actually less a response to CSI culture than the latest “six strikes” copyright infringement laws, which punish the public based upon highly fakeable IP addresses. Their project calls into question not just the traceability of genetic code, but the very idea of authorities relying on surefire personal surveillance methods.
Personally, I find it a bit pointless to worry about police tracking my every move when, in reality, countless for-profit companies are already doing the same thing (and probably even more invasively). And if the only way for me to stay out of jail is sharing gum? I’d really better get a better lawyer on retainer.