This art will stop you spitting out your chewing gum

By Kitty Knowles 23 September 2016

Find out why a statue of Saddam Hussein is being launched into space.

It’s gross when people spit out gum in the street – and it leaves nasty marks on the pavement.

Now, there’s even more of a reason not to do it: you could see your face immortalised in art…

For her installation Stranger Things, New Yorker Heather Dewey-Hagborg collected hair, cigarette butts and chewing gum she found on the street, and then used DNA analysis to create a striking series of genetically-informed 3D-printed masks.

The piece is intended to raise questions about how our own DNA might be used in a dystopian future of biological surveillance.

This is just one of 15 thought-provoking artworks on display at Invisible Threads: Technology and its Discontents, a new exhibition that questions how technology is shaping the world today.

Mobile phone addict?

Opened this week Abu Dhabi, works including Unknown Gamer (pictured) will also make you think twice about modern life.

We know it can all too easy to lose yourself in your mobile phone – especially when on a droll daily commute. But now, Aram Bartholl has filmed and presented a series of videos showing just how immersed we all are in our smartphones.

How healthy can it really be, that his subjects were so deeply focused, that they failed to even notice the artist filming right next to them?

Space Saddam

Another compelling work – a small statue of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein – is going to be sent into space as soon as its exhibition ends.

Wafaa Bilal, an Iraqi American artist, created Canto III, after hearing that the dictator had hoped his image would be launched into space by the Iraqi Space Programme.

Bilal’s bust is sat on a satellite box with a tiny camera in front of the statue, so you’ll be able to watch it as it goes into space!

Other oddities

Other installations are made from technology itself: Liu Bolin’s haunting Angels sculpture is constructed from old chargers; while Addie Wagenknecht’s XXXX.XXX is made up of a series of circuit boards and cables (yep, that’s really its name).

Michael Joaquin Grey’s My Sputnik is a full-scale sculptural replica of the 1957 Soviet satellite, and Siebren Versteeg’s Like uses an interactive computer program and live Google image searches.

Whether you look forward to, or fear, the future, be prepared to put your thinking cap ob.

And whatever you do, don’t spit out any more gum.

See Invisible Threads: Technology and its Discontents at the NYUAD Art Gallery, Abu Dahbi, until December 31, 2016.