Jaden J. A. Hastings (AU) PHANES (Posthuman Artificial Net Embryo Synthesizer)

Algorithm, Customised Cryogenic Tank, Archival Prints, and 10 min film (part of artwork, but not in exhibition: 8 of the artist’s unfertilised human ova), 2019

What if an artificial intelligence could help us find our ideal mate? The artist has biobanked her eggs in a biobank, has a complete sequence of her whole genome sequence, and, as part of another artwork, the artist programmed an AI to tell her what errors needed correcting in her genome and how to fix it.

Named for the Greek Protogonos, PHANES allows anyone to submit their genome for consideration by the algorithm in the form of a Variant Call Format (VCF) file that one can obtain from most direct-to-consumer genetic tests. Based upon its own parameters, the algorithm then produces hypothetical future generations that a pairing with the artist’s eggs might produce. The family tree, according to PHANES, reaches into the future, rather than the past.

This work is intentionally provocative, and made even more so as it is functional (not speculative). Yet, it is proposing a step toward a carbo.silico entanglement that is already in progress—from shifts in matchmaking due to the algorithms behind social media and dating apps, to selection of embryos for IVF—which makes PHANES simply another step in the same direction.

Jaden J. A. Hastings (AU)

Jaden J. A. Hastings’ work focuses upon the intersection and interplay of art and science - from
philosophy to praxis - merging scientific and artistic research, challenging the norms of both disciplines, and moving them into new spaces for exploration. Her research fuses and folds together the fields of machine learning, bioengineering, space exploration, new media art, law and ethics.

Jaden’s career in scientific research spans over 15 years and grounded in her longstanding roots as a biohacker. She is alumna of New York University, Harvard University, the University of Oxford, and Central Saint Martins with advanced degrees in Biology, Bioinformatics, and Fine Art. Her artwork has been exhibited in venues across Europe, India, Asia, North America, and Australia.