What if love could spread like a virus?
The virus before you is real. It is a lentivirus vector, hybridised with vesicular stomatitis and a plasmid containing genes for red fluorescent protein and oxytocin expression. Oxytocin is associated with love and bonding, with monogamy and devotion, empathy and connection. This is a virus that irreversibly alters human DNA to produce more oxytocin.
With her newest project Lovesick: The Transfection, Dewey-Hagborg develops, in collaboration with scientists who are specialised in discovering antibodies, a modified retrovirus. A virus that infects the host with a gene that increases the levels of production of the love hormone oxytocin. In this new project presented at STRP for the first time, small glass vials shaped like different energy states of the oxytocin molecule, can be broken open and consumed orally. Lovesick: The Transfection is activist intervention, spreading affection and attachment to counter the alienation and disconnection we experience today. Surely the world could use a little more love?