Portraits from Discarded DNA

Making 3D portraits based on DNA found on discarded gums, cigarette butts, and fingernails

#Art

Sat, Feb 20th, 2016 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

In this short video, Veena Rao and Emily Sheskin look at the realistic 3D portraits created by artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg which she creates using the DNA found on discarded gum, cigarette butts, and fingernails, raising eerie questions about genetic surveillance.

"It all started with wondering what I could learn about someone from a little piece ... they left behind," says artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg. Using discarded items like cigarette butts, chewing gum, and fingernails, she extracted traces of DNA to create masks based on the owner's genetic profile. While difficult to determine how closely these portraits match the original holder, they do put a human face on larger questions surrounding genetic surveillance. Filmmakers Veena Rao and Emily Sheskin present Dewey-Hagborg's "Stranger Visions" series and her counter-surveillance product Invisible, a set of sprays she claims erases the majority of one's DNA footprint.

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