Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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landscape of eugenics

art idea
  [vote for,

This is an idea for an art work: a sorta' gugenhiemy sciency artwork. Here is the process for creating it: Photograph a few thousand people from all over the world, store the images on a bunch of hard drives and index them. When you photograph a person get a swatch of his DNA (I think they need a big wad of hair for this or something) send the samples off to the lab and put ‘em on the computer and index ‘em too.

Now write a program, it compares the DNA. Start with one record and find the four bits of DNA that are most similar to it. Put the picture of the person on a big grid and put the four similar ones around it. Now find the people most similar to the four to fill in the corners, keep building out till you have all the people’s faces arranged by genetic similarity. Now print the photos and arrange them in said order on a big wall, give it a controversial name like “landscape of eugenics” or something and wait for the outrage.

futurebird, May 08 2001

Great TV -- bad idea http://abcnews.go.c...nsborn_feature.html
Why having "more of the same" ain't necessarily useful, from a genetic standpoint. [reensure, May 08 2001]


       Trick question: How do you avoid reproducing the outcomes of failed eugenics experiments of the 30s and 40s?
reensure, May 08 2001

       This could be interesting. Inasmuch as genetic differences between "races" has been found to be rather trivial, depending on the criteria used for comparison you could, I think, end up with a photo montage which shows a pretty heterogenous mix of faces. (Criteria: Do you factor "junk DNA" into the comparison or ignore it? Do you count only the DNA for genes we have linked with specific functions, or just lump everything together and disregard possible redundancies?) If one made such a montage and found Jesse Jackson's face next to David Duke's it might open some eyes.
Dog Ed, May 09 2001

       Dog Ed:   

       I'm hoping that it would come out looking more like a patch work, a small scale study along the lines of this found that some blond guy from norway had more in common with this big black dude than some other not-so big black dude (oh the guy from norway was big too)   

       Still I think the title should be as annoying as possible to get attention. Yeah, I studied art...
futurebird, May 09 2001

       Sequencing the DNA of each person would be extremely expensive and time consuming making the whole thing impractical without the backing of a multi-millionaire.   

       A compromise could be to choose specific tests to perform and group the people by the outcome of those tests. You would get huddles of people who had the same sequence for a particular gene or had a particular gene present or missing.   

       If you want to make the point that race (and/or gender) is no big deal then you'd have to pick your tests carefully. Test for sickle-cell anaemia and you get mainly a black population. Test for colour blindness and you'd get mainly male.   

       As a piece of art it sounds interesting. You want hair and a mugshot? You got it. I'm in.
st3f, May 09 2001

       even still, it's a neat idea. *grabs the Polaroid and the scissors*
absterge, May 09 2001

       I'm with waugsqueke that it wouldn't be a 2D array. (For one thing, even assuming a comparison of all the DNA, I think you might easily have a case in which persons A and B have the same four nearest neighbors but aren't neighbors of each other. st3f's chosen comparisons could get rid of that, but would beg the question of why those comparisons.)   

       A Website with many "near-DNA" links, sure, but that wouldn't have the impact of different-looking people next to each other on the wall.
hello_c, May 09 2001


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