Wednesday, May 8, 2013

This is either really creepy, really cool, or just an invastion of privacy...

We can't help but leave our DNA all over the place. If you drop a chewed piece of gum or a cigarette butt, it might get picked up by artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg. She may mine it for DNA, analyze the results, and generate a portrait based on the data. That's either really creepy, really cool, or a major invasion of privacy.

Dewey-Hagborg's Stranger Visions project combines artistry and science while raising questions about genetic privacy. She starts by collecting genetic material from public places. She then analyzes it at a lab, mining the DNA for information like gender, ethnicity, and eye color.

The data is then fed into a custom computer program that translates the information into a 3D model of a face. That model is printed out in color using a ZCorp 3D printer. The results are disembodied faces, but they aren't exact copies of the person who dropped the DNA. Dewey-Hagborg describes it as a "family resemblance."

Stranger Visions all began with Dewey-Hagborg contemplating a stranger's stray hair. Combined with her viewing of forensics television programs like "CSI," and an interest in the issue of genetic surveillance, the artist decided to create the 3D portraits. It's a particularly unusual version of found art.

This should be enough to make you think twice about spitting a piece of gum out the window next time.

Souce: CNET

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