The Artist & Detective: Creating Your Ideal Look
September 26, 2013 - By Dr. Jules Feledy
We live in a digital age, an age were technology improves upon itself faster than anything we’ve ever seen – computers just keep getting faster and more efficient and more widely usable. Indeed, the technology surgeons use in facial reconstruction allows for such refined improvements that it blurs the line between science and living art.
Still, though, you’re to be excused for doing a double-take upon seeing a story like this one, which involves an artist using hi-tech math to make her art. It’s a story of an artist using DNA to recreate the faces of strangers she’s never seen.
From a Radiolab article on the story:
“Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg can find a cigarette lying on the sidewalk on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, and working from traces of saliva, by pulling DNA out of those saliva cells and using a bunch of simple algorithms available online, she can make some very educated guesses about what the smoker might look like.”
After viewing Dewey-Hagborg’s project, commentator Ellen Jorgensen had this to say:
“It really brings it 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, and with DNA sequencing becoming faster and cheaper, this is the world we’re all going to be living in.”
That’s undeniably true. It’s also the cautionary note to sound. However, there’s a hopeful and fascinating note to sound as well: in the hands of a highly skilled and trusted surgeon like Dr. Jules Feledy, procedures like the face lift, or nose surgery, or the brow lift, have become so precise and refined that patients have the opportunity to look better, and more like themselves, than they had ever imagined.