Thursday, May 16

Heather Dewey-Hagborg: 3D Faces From DNA Found In The Streets

A well documented site of a DNA find!
Rest assured, the DNA that artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg collects doesn't come from somewhere gross like used condoms or saliva - just from your typical hair strands, cigarette butts, spit-out gum, and disposed finger nails. Of course, you don't know that she's collecting this DNA, or that she's creating and printing a 3D visualization of your face with it, because she's finding all of this DNA samples in the city streets, washrooms and trash (well, maybe not the trash).

This series is known as, "Strange Visions" and the samples are collected in New York, where we're sure nobody thinks it's out of the ordinary to see someone in medical gloves rooting around and collecting samples of cigarette butts and old gum off the sidewalk.

I loved reading about the process of extracting the DNA and creating the image, but thought other people might find that a bit boring, so I didn't rewrite it all out on here. I am, however, leaving a link to an article on the Smithsonian Magazine website, so that this neat information is but a click away.

Heather with her own face

What's sort of cool about these sculptures, is that DNA can't decipher what age you currently are, so in all the images that are derived from DNA, a 25 year old version of that person is spit out. I think it's really neat to think that the person might see the sculpture but never recognize themselves, because in reality they're 89, or maybe just 12!

When you think about it, this new fangled 3D computer system means now we really can see what our new baby will look like when he or she is all grown up - except instead of taking a picture, we take a saliva swab. With that said, is this art project showing us that maybe our technology is getting a bit out of hand? Take one of these heads (the digital file) and stick it on any body you'd like, and BAM, you have just 3D printed your very own life-size, human doll shell. Creepy enough for you?

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