Profiling: Lauren Lee McCarthy

July 10, 2024
Event Types
Public Program

For the second iteration of Profiling, artist Lauren Lee McCarthy invites participants to take part in a saliva exchange on their own terms. 

This playful exchange opens a conversation about bodily autonomy, data privacy, race, gender, and class as they pertain to genetic material.

We’ve now been trained to regularly swab, spit, and give up ownership of our bodily substances to corporations and government run centers. These fluids hold the data of our DNA, personal information, and identity. As a counter-gesture, this project is invites you participate in a saliva exchange on your own terms. This form allows the participating individual the ability to describe themself and the terms of use around their saliva, then print, lick, and exchange with another participant.

About the Artist 

Lauren Lee McCarthy is an artist examining social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living. She creates performances inviting viewers to engage. To remote control her dates. To be followed. To welcome her in as their human smart home. To attend a party hosted by artificial intelligence. Lauren is the creator of p5.js, an open-source creative coding platform that prioritizes inclusion and access with over 10 million users worldwide. She is also Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts. Lauren’s work has been recoginzed by Creative Capital, United States Artists, LACMA, Sundance, Eyebeam, MacDowell, Pioneer Works, and Ars Electronica, among others.


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This summer, we invite you to join us for our remote summer series, Profiling, which will present five artist-designed questionnaires or forms that reconsider how we present ourselves through online profiles, or how the data we input shapes our identity.

Online profiles have been folded into the fabric of our identities, but can we take a step back and reconsider the information we are asked to provide that construct our online digital selves? Alternatively, can we analyze the forms and questionnaires that structure the way we are forced to identify ourselves? These profiles have increasingly become a way of establishing interpersonal relationships. We are forced to fit ourselves into a persona that shapes how we interact and are perceived by others. We check boxes that limit our personality and are thus placed into a category that we might not even identify with. In this series, artists will take a deeper look at the structures that collect data that inform our profiles, rethink what shapes our identities, and expose how the data being collected is used by these invisible entities.

A new iteration will be released on the List Center website every other Wednesday, from June 26 to August 21, 2024. Participants are invited to engage with the series asynchronously throughout the season.

Profiling is organized by Emily Garner, Senior Manager Campus and Public Programs, with Cassidy Westjohn, Program Coordinator.

Participating Artists: Lauren Lee McCarthy, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Mary Stephenson, Mariam Suhail, Anne Le Troter.