October 5, 2021 COCOON
Yesterday, the filing of a lawsuit against Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., a multibillion-dollar biotechnology corporation, on behalf of the estate of Henrietta Lacks, was announced. A ceremonial end to to our 5-week class on ancestry.
This past summer, taught by American Artist and Zainab Aliyu, participants of AncestryandMe gathered on Zoom to understand this history of biotechnological exploitation and to ask: How does DNA tracing, a technology that offers a lot in theory, play out in reality? Through an exploration of deeply personal lenses, we wrapped with our familial histories within the context of biometric surveillance. Thank you to all the participants of AncestryandMe who shared space with one another this past summer! To conclude the session, participants shared final projects and learnings.Madeeha Lamoreaux shares plans for a reliquary in the form of a jumkha style earring (a traditional earring style passed on to women as part of Pakistani tradition) which is injected with her DNA goop.Jon Rowe shares an imaginary meeting between himself and his birth-parents.
Henrietta Lacks was a Black woman from Baltimore whose cancer cells were collected and immortalized by Johns Hopkins researchers without her consent. Despite the contribution this exploitation would have in medical developments for years to come, Johns Hopkins has profited while her family, to this day, has no rights. Justice now!Yesterday, the filing of a lawsuit against Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., a multibillion-dollar biotechnology corporation, on behalf of the estate of Henrietta Lacks, was announced.Participants read together through highlighted notes from class readings.Tina Nguyen shares an ancestral shrine that captures her Vietnamese heritage, mixed with modern relics that capture her own belief system.Stephen Song shares a series of short essays and recipes about significant foods and their histories as they relate to their family.Eileen Isagon Skyers shares a multi-channel video series that examines various aspects of Filipina/o American identity and tradition.Participants gather on Zoom.