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Designer Transforms Found DNA Into 3-D Portraits

Every day you leave behind bits of information that disclose private details about you. You must choose to protect your privacy. Designer Heather Dewey-Hagborg merges visual technology and science to consider the potential for a culture of genetic surveillance. In her project Stranger Visions, she collects abandoned genetic material that is ripe for the picking, such as a cigarette butt, a chewed piece of gum, a stray hair, or even sometimes a fingernail. After extracting DNA, she can not only identify ancestral background, gender, complexion, bone structure, hair and eye color, but she can also, can create generic portrait sculptures which resemble facial features of the stranger who left the substance behind. She constructs faces with a self-designed program that interprets the code as traits. Her artwork promotes dialogue about identity, privacy, technology, and social change. In response to genetic surveillance, she invented Invisible, a product that erases and replaces DNA. Using this technology, you can conceal your genetic identity, and take back your basic rights of privacy. Are you interested in learning how to obscure your personal details and counter genetic surveillance? Take a look at Dewey-Hagborg’s project DNA Spoofing.