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By Lauren Lee McCarthy

The show brings together two major works by artist Lauren Lee McCarthy —Surrogate and Saliva—to examine bio-surveillance. Surrogate takes the form of performances, videos, and installations wherein McCarthy offers her body up as a remote-controlled surrogate to individuals and couples interested in having a child. This proposition is never fully realized by the artist, but it prompts important conversations regarding familial norms, legal barriers, genetic manipulation, gender, and reproduction. Saliva is a series of performances, installations, and videos about DNA sampling and data harvesting through the routine collection of swabs and spit.


In a newly commissioned installation at the Mandeville Art Gallery, as a counter-gesture McCarthy has devised a saliva exchange station where visitors can trade their own samples with one another through the assistance of an attendant. The process sidesteps the anonymity of medical and corporate entities, and invites active discussions on data privacy, race, gender, and class as they pertain to genetic material. Together, Surrogate and Saliva encourage a potent and timely dialogue regarding bodily autonomy in times of rapid technological development and increased corporate and government surveillance.


Artist: Lauren Lee McCarthy
Curator: Ceci Moss
Exhibition design: Salmah Beydoun
Exhibition fabrication: Ryan Lewis
Lighting fabrication: Ariel Uzal
Creative production: Daniel Soto
Production and studio assistance: Lela Barclay De Tolly, Chelly Jin, Wylie Kasai, Karina Lopez, Sagan Yee
Production support from UCLA Social Software
Assistant preparators: Adrian-Dre Diaz, Andrea Luna, Millie Root
Gallery guides: Jordan Cathcart, Lynelle Collo, Emily Fonseca, Eva Intoci, Nicole Karolak, Stephania Torres-Londono


Mandeville Gallery at the University of California San Diego

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