In April, the artist Lynn Hershman Leeson and I spent nearly an hour at a peaceful tea house in midtown Manhattan talking about technological nightmares. “I think people need to be aware that there are ways of tracking people that come from the inside out,” Leeson tells me of biosurveillance, which features in her recently opened exhibition in Berlin. Taking a different angle on possible biotechnological catastrophes, the artist talks about gene editing and how those technologies are being developed by companies motivated mostly by profit. As far as I can gather, it seems like Leeson has spent the past few years talking to leading scientists and asking them what dangers technologies under development pose.
I ask Leeson how she deals with the weight of her subject. I ask her why she bothers to bring these technologies to the attention of the public — why isn’t she, for example, hunkered down in a bunker somewhere in Wyoming?..