Genetic Abductees

dna-artist

The work of NYC artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg.

You do realize that you’re leaving little pieces of yourself wherever you go, right? The cup you left on the cafe table, your spit on the sidewalk, your wad of chewed-up gum in the gutter, a few strands of hair in a public bathroom sink. Well, NYC artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg collects DNA-filled items left behind in public spaces and takes them to Genspace, a “community biotechnology lab” in Brooklyn. Genspace extracts the DNA, which gives the artist intell on the person who left it. Says Dewey-Hagborg: “From a cigarette butt, I can learn where someone’s ancestors likely came from, their gender, eye color, hair color, complexion, freckles, their tendency to be overweight and a handful of dimensions of the face as well with a certain likelihood.” The DNA doesn’t give her an exact portrait, but it’s enough info for her to come up with a mug that she can translate into art. No wonder their faces look so spooky!

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