Art Division
Excellence Award

(Im)possible Baby, Case 01: Asako & Moriga

Photos, Website, Films, Book
(Im)possible Baby, Case 01: Asako & Moriga
©Ai Hasegawa
After taking genetic information from an actual same-sex couple to generate DNA data for the children they might have together, the re- sults were used to produce “family photographs”. Though a same-sex couple cannot conceive a child us- ing current technology, it is possible to predict what kind of baby they would have based on genetic infor- mation. After obtaining the couple’s DNA data from a genetic analysis service called “23andMe” and up- loading it to the (Im)possible Baby Simulator, the device generated ge- netic profiles for their children, including characteristics such as appearance, personality, and sus- ceptibility to illness. With advances in DNA research, having children will no longer be a fantasy for same-sex couples. But even if it becomes technically possible, there are ethical issues that must be ad- dressed before the procedure can actually be used. Who is qualified to decide whether such a proce- dure is right or wrong? The work also explores how art can provide people with an opportunity to par- ticipate in decision-making processes that are related to scien- tific technology.
Reason for Award
This work generated much discus- sion among the jury member. In addition to dealing with powerful subjects like the ethics of modifying the human genome, and the role of art and love, the artist’s efforts to make a connection to reality and re- fer to related discourse resulted in an outstanding and politically cor- rect work of art. But the sensibility the artist brought to the family pho- tographs was not simply designed to be a universal solution to the question of same-sex marriage. This work proved to be extremely ap- pealing when it was showcased on various TV shows, and many people, including the personalities on the show, were actually moved to tears, as borne out by their messages on social media. In that sense, the work was a lie that also made a deep im- pression on people in a way that recalled the recent ghost-writing scandal that was a topic of so much discussion. In other words, as the artist suggests, interpreting genetic information is akin to fortune-telling – i.e., fiction. But given that the proj- ect, which presents the issue by changing science fiction into art and mixing fact with fiction, affected people on an emotional level, all of the aforementioned aspects that would normally inspire aversion in art instead create something that is deeply worthy of praise. We rate the structure of this work very highly. (NAKAZAWA Hideki)