Stranger Visions, 2012-15
Dewey-Hagborg collects DNA samples unwittingly left behind by New Yorkers. She gathers cigarette butts, chewing gum, and threads of hair, lifts DNA from the items, and looks for genetic codes that indicate gender, eye and hair color, racial background and facial structure.1 She then feeds those genetic markers into software that generates a facial image and 3D-prints a sculptural portrait. Dewey-Hagborg’s portraits highlight the DNA trail we leave behind in our day-to-day activities; her work asks us to think about how discarded genetic information might be used in surveillance and crime investigations.

1 Peter Aldhous, “Artworks highlight legal debate over ‘abandoned’ DNA,” New Scientist, (June 10, 2013)