A portrait of you from a single hair: The work of Heather Dewey-Hagborg

Posted by: Helen Walters

The video “DNA Portrait,” above, is a lovely short documentary shot by TED’s own Kari Mulholland. It features the work of the artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, who spent time collecting hairs shed in public spaces… and then sequencing the DNA therein to print 3D sculptures of what those hairs’ owners might look like. Whoa. The film is also the secret story of the lab run by TEDGlobal 2012 speaker Ellen Jorgensen. At Genspace, people can experiment with DNA-based technology, regardless of their scientific knowledge or experience. As Jorgensen comments in the film, Dewey-Hagborg’s work is super interesting, not to mention searingly contemporary. “It’s a very accessible way for the public to engage with this new technology. It really brings to light how powerful it is, the idea that a hair from your head can fall on your street and a perfect stranger can pick it up and know something about it,” she says, adding: “With DNA sequencing becoming faster and cheaper, this is the world we’re all going to be living in.”

Comments (31)

  • Paul Rose commented on Apr 2 2014

    Wow, that’s something else!

  • Kerry Wang commented on Apr 1 2014

    It looks wired, though it can make A portrait of you, can it supply the delicate information of you? don’t you think it’s very dangerous? a single hair? My god! I had to try full lace wigs

  • commented on Mar 15 2014

    Reblogged this on D. Lee Reed.

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  • bura tadu commented on Aug 23 2013

    my co-worker’s mother-in-law makes $87/hr on the laptop. She has been out of a job for 9 months but last month her check was $14411 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this web site

  • tuka sako commented on Aug 22 2013

    uptil I looked at the paycheck ov $8691, I accept that my cousin was like they say truley bringing home money parttime at their laptop.. there uncle started doing this for under nine months and by now cleared the debts on their home and got a gorgeous Cadillac. go to,

  • commented on Aug 17 2013

    Reblogged this on Holy Strategies, Batman! and commented:
    Analyze the structure of hair. Examine how a strand of hair is useful in forensic investigations. Cite two credible sources found in your research. Share your findings include at least one quote.

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  • bupe damo commented on Aug 4 2013

    Carter. I agree that Deborah`s c0mment is good, on friday I got a gorgeous Cadillac sincee geting a check for $7338 this last month and-a little over, $10,000 lass-month. with-out a doubt this is the nicest work Ive had. I began this four months/ago and almost straight away got me over $70, per/hr. I use this website,,