Meet the artist and activist who wants you to erase your DNA

Heather Dewey-Hagborg never leaves a trace of herself anywhere.

An artist and activist, Hagborg wants to make sure people understand the hidden secrets in the DNA they leave behind everywhere they go – and what people can do with them.

One of her early projects was called Stranger Visions. For the project, Hagborg collected discarded gum, cigarettes, strands of hair, and anything else that could hold traces of human DNA. She then took them to her lab for analysis and used the data in the DNA to 3D-print renderings of the people who had discarded the items.

For her latest project, called Invisible, Hagborg developed a spray that can mask your DNA wherever it’s left. As many people are quick to point out, her spray could be used by criminals too. But most powerful tools can be used for both good and evil, and Hagborg is convinced that as technology develops, Invisible will be an essential piece in preserving our safety and privacy.

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