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3D Faces Printed from DNA in Discarded Objects
Photograph by Heather Dewey-Hagborg

What inspired Stranger Visions and what is the process?

The idea actually came to me in a therapy session! I was sitting staring at this very mundane print on the wall and I noticed that in the glass covering the print there was a crack, and in that crack was lodged a single hair. I kept staring at this hair and wondering whose it could be and what I could know about them from it. Walking home later that day I became cognizant of all the genetic material surrounding me, and the idea for Stranger Visions materialized.

The project began with me, going about my daily life in the city, and coming across samples of human DNA everywhere I looked. Hairs, nails, cigarette butts, chewing gum, we are shedding our DNA all over the place all the time, and we don’t even notice. So I began collecting “samples” – traces of human DNA I found in my travels.