In her 2012 piece Stranger Visions, Heather Dewey-Hagborg used DNA found in public left in chewed gum, cigarette butts, and hair to construct estimated face busts.
The question behind Stranger Visions actually came to me as I was sitting in my shrink’s office. I was staring at this generic print of a painting above the couch I and I noticed that the glass covering the print had a crack in it. As I looked closer I observed that in that crack was lodged a single hair. Now, as I am sitting there, ostensibly with the purpose of introspecting and talking about my feelings, my mind wanders to imagining who this person might be… Where are they from? What do they look like? How crazy are they?
More recently, Dewey-Hagborg developed a spray to erase 99.5% of traces and to replace the remaining 0.5% with DNA from other sources. [via Popular Science | Thanks, Thomas]