How much can you find out about a person from something that they accidentally leave behind?
Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s work ‘Stranger Visions,’ currently on display at Big Bang Data, includes a series of sculptured human faces based on DNA that the artist obtained from objects such as chewing gum and cigarette butts collected from the streets in New York City.
Dewey-Hagborg’s work calls attention to the developing technology of forensic DNA phenotyping and the potential for a culture of biological surveillance.
‘You wouldn’t leave your medical records on the subway for just anyone to read. It should be a choice. You should be in control of how you share your information and with whom: be it your email, your phone calls, your SMS messages, and certainly your genes.’
The documentary below, produced by TED, shows the full process – from finding a hair on the street to analysing the DNA in the lab and generating model portraits from 3D printers.