These 3D Portraits Were Created Using Only a Person’s DNA

Stranger Visions is an art project which tries to determine what we look like based on a single strand of hair. How much information about ourselves do we leave behind in public, as we shed saliva, hair, and sweat throughout the day?

By Zak Stone

Stranger Visions is an art project which tries to determine what we look like based on a single strand of hair.

How much information about ourselves do we leave behind in public, as we shed saliva, hair, and sweat throughout the day? It’s a question that drives the artwork of Heather Dewey-Hagborg, whose project Stranger Visions reconstructs the faces of the anonymous as 3D-printed sculptures, using genetic detritus found in chewing gum, cigarette butts, and wads of hair around New York City.

“I started fixating on this idea of hair and what can I know about someone from a hair,” explains Dewey-Hagborg, a Brooklyn-based information artist. Her faces were determined based on looking at just three traits–gender, eye color, and maternal ethnicity–an admittedly simplified look (but still more advanced than police forensics labs which use a kit to determine hair and eye color from a sample). Plugging that information into software she wrote herself, she could spin up different 3D version of a face–eventually settling on the ones she finds most interesting aesthetically–and bring them to life with a 3D printer.

Read more: These 3D Portraits Were Created Using Only a Person's DNA: Scientific American.

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