A strand of hair, or a flake of skin, contains enough DNA to get a full genetic profile. Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg has a strange but interesting project titled ‘Stranger Visions’ that centers around collecting DNA from public places and using the information to create portraits of random strangers.
You can often see Dewey-Hagborg picking stray hairs, cigarette butts, finger nail clippings in places like restrooms, restaurants, and bus stops. She analyzes the DNA and starts to construct facial features based on their genetic profile, such as eye color, ethnicity, and hair color.
The portraits are created using a DNA facial modeling software and are created using a 3D printer. Dewey-Hagborg explains her project:
The more I thought about it, the more curious I became about who this person could possibly be. As I just mulled it over, I started thinking about how I could figure out more about that person and, you know, kind of connecting that with all of the forensic shows you see on TV. The idea kind of stuck in my head.
The project is currently on display at the Eyebeam Annual Showcase, which ends on January 26, 2013. See some of the portraits below: