It’s probably not something you think about a lot, but we all leave pieces of ourselves everywhere we go. Flakes of skin here, a renegade hair there, the occasional loogie, they all leave some of your DNA behind. And while it normally goes untouched, someone could use it to say, 3D-print an approximation of your face.
As part of her project Stranger Visions, Brooklyn-based artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg has been doing just that, using a cigarette butt, a wad of gum, and some hair that she found hanging around on the street. Using the DNA from the three samples, some software she wrote herself and a 3D printer, she’s been able to create theoretical faces that belong to that cast-off genetic material.
Before you get too weirded out, it’s important to note that these aren’t the faces of those people, just possible faces based on gender, eye colour and maternal ethnicity, far from all the variables involved. As Dewey-Hagborg put it to Co.Exist “there’s a whole lot more subjectivity than we’re kind of lead to believe.”
And even if the results of this little experiment aren’t particularly accurate or particularly useful, it does make you think twice about the trail of genetic information you’re leaving behind you, and what people might be able to do with it, someday. Maybe you’ll think twice about spitting on the street next time. [Co.Exist]