Artist to debut 3D portraits produced from Chelsea Manning's DNA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Around thirty three-dimensional portraits of Chelsea Manning, created using the DNA of the transgender U.S. Army soldier imprisoned for leaking classified data, will greet visitors at eye-level at an exhibition opening in New York City next month.

Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg based the portraits on a range of possible facial variations generated by software that analyzed DNA samples sent her by the former intelligence analyst when she was behind bars.

Manning, 29, was released in May from a U.S. military prison in Kansas where she had been serving time for passing secrets to the WikiLeaks website in the biggest breach of classified data in the history of the United States.

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3D portraits produced from Chelsea Manning's DNA
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3D portraits produced from Chelsea Manning's DNA
3-D printed masks created by Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, are seen ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A container of DNA extracted from hair clippings and cheek swabs received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning is seen inside the studio of Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg who used the DNA to create 3-D printed masks for the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg poses with 3-D printed masks created from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg holds a 3-D printed mask created from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg looks at 3-D printed masks she created from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg holds a dish containing hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail from which she extracted DNA to create 3-D printed masks ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
3-D printed masks created by Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, are seen ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg poses with various 3-D printed masks created from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg poses with various 3-D printed masks created from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A hand written letter from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail sits on a table in the studio of Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg where she created computer models for 3-D printed masks created from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from Manning, ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A 3-D printed mask created by Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, is pictured ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A container of DNA extracted from hair clippings and cheek swabs received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning is seen inside the studio of Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg who used the DNA to create 3-D printed masks for the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg poses with 3-D printed masks created from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg works in her studio where she created computer models for 3-D printed masks created from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A container of DNA extracted from hair clippings and cheek swabs received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning is seen inside the studio of Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg who used the DNA to create 3-D printed masks for the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg looks at 3-D printed masks she created from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A container of DNA extracted from hair clippings and cheek swabs received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning is seen inside the studio of Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg who used the DNA to create 3-D printed masks for the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg sits in her studio where she created computer models for 3-D printed masks created from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
3-D printed masks created by Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, are seen ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
3-D printed masks created by Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg from DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings she received from formerly imprisoned U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning while she was in jail, are seen ahead of the August 2, 2017 opening of "A Becoming Resemblance", an exhibition at the Fridman gallery in New York City, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
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Other than one mugshot, photos of Manning were prohibited while she was in custody.

The exhibition by Dewey-Hagborg and Manning at the Fridman Gallery in Manhattan shows portraits of her with different color eyes or skin tone. Manning seems more masculine in some of the depictions, and in others more feminine in the show titled "A Becoming Resemblance."

"I'm hoping people will walk in and see a portrait that resonates with them and feel kind of that connection with her," Dewey-Hagborg said at the gallery, where the exhibit opens on Aug. 2.

"We are all Chelsea Manning and we all stand there with her."

Dewey-Hagborg, who has previously created art pieces produced using DNA samples, worked with Manning for more than two years on the project. It began when a magazine contacted the artist to ask whether she could create an image to accompany a feature profile of Manning.

Dewey-Hagborg said she found the former soldier to be optimistic and "incredibly brave" during all of their interactions.

Manning said she trusted the artist and gave her free reign to produce the images, according to Dewey-Hagborg, asking only that the artist did not make her appear too masculine.

"Prisons try very hard to make us inhuman and unreal by denying our image, and thus our existence, to the rest of the world." Manning said in a statement on the gallery's website.

Dewey-Hagborg said the exhibition was meant to show that DNA does not necessarily tell you what gender a person is. She also hoped that showing 30 different DNA-generated versions of Manning's face drew attention to the fact DNA-based imaging is not completely accurate.

"It's growing and developing but it's not ready for that kind of use yet," Dewey-Hagborg said of the imaging technology.

(Reporting by Taylor Harris; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Andrew Hay)


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