Stranger Visions, Dublin: Sample 6
Stranger Visions, Dublin: Sample 9
Stranger Visions

  • Stranger Visions, 2012-2013

    Courtesy of the artist and Fridman Gallery

Stranger Visions is a series of 3D-printed portraits based on DNA samples the artist collected on the streets of New York City.
In the sample boxes placed under the masks, there are cigarette butts, hairs and chewed gum, along with the date, location, and a photograph of the location where the samples were found.
Dewey-Hagborg extracted DNA from the anonymous trash left in public spaces to determine genetic profiles of the strangers. A public version of the genetic profiling code is available as an open source archive on internet, along with tutorials and related information on Dewey-Hagborg's blog.
Invisible is a suite of two complementary products: the Erase spray deletes 99.5% of the DNA one leaves in public places, while the Replace spray cloaks biological material with DNA noise. Surprisingly, they are fully-functional products available for purchase.
These works hint at the near future, in which genetic data collection will be as common as collecting personal information online.


  • Born 1982 in Philadelphia, USA
  • Based in New York, USA
  • Photo: Ana Brigada

After training in computer science and the arts, and pursuing research in AI and machine learning, Heather Dewey-Hagborg creates work that encourages us to think about issues of DNA privacy and surveillance. For Stranger Visions, based on the probable phenotypes derived from analysis of DNA extracted from things like hairs, cigarette butts, or gum left in public spaces, she created 3D printed sculptures which might or might not resemble the people who dropped those objects. Invisible is a set of products created by an imaginary biotechnology company: a spray that deletes 99.5% of the DNA, and a spray that cloaks biological material with DNA noise. Both of these works sparked controversy around the world, looking critically at issues of the exploitation, without consent, of biological information such as a person's cells and DNA for commercial or academic gain.

Selected Works & Awards

2018 Genomic Intimacy, MU, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
2018 Probably Chelsea, Kunsthall 3.14, Bergen, Norway
2018 Stranger Visions, PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art, Perm, Russia
2018 The Future Starts Here, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
2017 .COM/.CN - Co-presented by KAF and MoMA PS1, K11 Art Space, Shanghai


Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art (10F)


Aichi Arts Center 10F
1-13-2 Higashisakura,Higashi-ku, Nagoya
461-8525 JAPAN


(Fri -20:00)
Admission until
30 minutes
before closing


Mondays (Except for National Holidays)

Barrier free

Free rental of wheelchairs.Please request to information.


・5 minutes on foot from Sakae Station on the Higashiyama Subway Line or Meijo Subway Line.
・5 minutes on foot from Sakae-Machi Station on the Meitetsu Seto Line.