Creepy 3D Portraits Made From Found DNA To Be Shown In London

Guy Parsons Guy Parsons

Cigarette DNA Faces Printed

DNA fragments – found on discarded cigarette butts and dried-up chewing gum – have been turned into lifelike masks of their owners.

Created by New York-based artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, these eerily realistic masks are based on a whole combination of genetic indicators found on urban debris.


These DNA splices reveal their owner’s gender, hair colour, ethnicity, likely nose structure, freckliness, and other visual attributes.

DNA analysis
DNA source, analysis and final printed mask.

The artist then uses modelling software to translate these signals into a digital portrait, before 3D-printing and mounting the results, in an unnerving display to rival the House of the Faceless Men.

Cigarette DNA photo exhibition
Photo: Heather Dewey-Hagborg

The masks will go on display at the Wellcome Collection from September 2019, along with dozens of other provocative artworks for the venue’s new permanent ‘Being Human’ exhibition. Genetics, Minds & Bodies, Infection, and Climate Breakdown are set to be the four core themes at the heart of the major free experience.

Wellcome Collection Being Human

Until then, see our guide to all the best art exhibitions in London.

Location: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE. Nearest station: Euston.  See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: from September 5, 2019; Tues-Sun, 10am-6pm (or until 9pm on Thu), closed Mon.
Price: free!
More information: on their website.

[h/t: Evening Standard]

Also published on Medium.