Stranger Visions

In Stranger Visions artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg creates portrait sculptures from analyses of genetic material collected in public places. Working with the traces strangers unwittingly leave behind, Dewey-Hagborg calls attention to the developing technology of forensic DNA phenotyping and the potential for a culture of biological surveillance. Designed as an exploratory project based on emerging science, the forecast of Stranger Visions has proved prescient. For an example of DNA phenotyping at work in forensics check out the companies Parabon NanoLabs and Identitas and read about their collaboration with the Toronto police. Also see Mark Shriver's research at Penn State on predicting faces from DNA.
For my analysis of the issues of structural racial bias embedded in this new technique see my article "Sci-fi Crime Drama with a Strong Black Lead" at the New Inquiry magazine.

For purchasing information please contact my gallery.

More (tech and conceptual) info on my blog. Follow me on twitter or subscribe to my mailing list for updates my work, shows and events.

I have given many public presentations about Stranger Visions on panels, and at conferences and festivals including: MoMA R&D Salon #15: Way of the Algorithm, The Wilson Center for Public Policy, The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Genspace, The New School, The International Association of Privacy Professionals, and Eyeo.

Cover of Government Technology. Features on: Arts Asia Pacific, New Scientist, TED, BBC, Reuters, the German cultural show Aspekte on the channel ZDF, the New Yorker, the Guardian, CNN Sunday Morning, CNN International, and CNN Technovations, NPR, Smithsonian, New York Times Magazine, Wired UK, Fuji TV in Japan, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Times of London and UK Daily Mail, Il Sole 24 Ore, Dan Rather Reports (video) (starts at 39:38), Studio 360 (radio and video), Art Ukraine, CBS News Radio, Le Monde, Haaretz, New York Post (video), The Boston Globe, The Creators Project, Designboom, The Verge, Fast Company, Motherboard and "face of the day" on the Daily Beast. Write-up in Science Magazine, Capital New York and Artlog

Stranger Visions, winner of an Ars Electronica honorary mention 2015 and a special mention at VIDA 15.0, has been exhibited locally and internationally at events and venues including: Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Article Biennial, Norway, Saint Gaudens national historic site, The New York Public Library, Ars Electronica, Eyebeam, Science Gallery Dublin, the 92Y Tribeca, Clocktower Gallery, Washington Project for the Arts, University of Technology Gallery in Sydney, among many others.

The code underpinning Stranger Visions is a work in progress. I have started a public version on github and there are tutorials and related information on my blog. I generally consider it friend-ware, so if you are interested in using my code for something friendly, let's talk.