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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

March 9, 2005

Dirty fingers make art work

Collecting fingerprints is not just for law enforcement. A new interactive art exhibit opening at California State University, Sacramento celebrates fingerprints in a positive light, as "an assertion of being counted, of being important and unique," says Sacramento State professor Nigel Poor, director of the exhibit. "Do You Have 30 Seconds and Can You Get Your Finger Dirty?" will take place March 28 to April 22 in the University's Library Gallery.

Fingerprint art

The project will feature pages of fingerprints that will be pinned to the wall, creating a "wallpaper of identity." Poor plans to have more then 3,300 fingerprints in the exhibit, with each fingerprint identified by the date the person was fingerprinted, as well as their gender, age, occupation and first name.

"Each person carries around a lovely and distinct print that is left invisibly thousands of places each day," Poor said. "In this case the mark is made visible and will become part of a larger collection of humanity."

Poor has collected fingerprints almost every day since she began the project in June 2002, approaching strangers for their fingerprints at malls, art openings, parties, meetings and on the street. The project is ongoing and visitors to the exhibit will be able to participate. Poor will show the exhibit at the Haines Gallery in San Francisco in 2006, when she hopes to have as many as 6,000 fingerprints.

More information about the exhibit, including how to participate in the project, is available by contacting Poor at (916) 278-6275. Media assistance is available from the University's public affairs office at (916) 278-6156. Images associated with this event are available for download at


California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •