Insights 2021: Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Chelsea Manning
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Insights 2021: Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Chelsea Manning

Join us for a live conversation between Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Chelsea Manning, exploring the intersection of art, design, and biopolitics behind their collaborative project Radical Love.

Heather Dewey-Hagborg is an information artist and biohacker who creates speculative projects that critique issues of technology, surveillance, and image culture. Her 2013 project Stranger Visions, currently on view in the Walker exhibition Designs for Different Futures, consists of a series of highly realistic, 3D-printed human face masks. Each portrait is predictively generated from DNA samples that the artist surreptitiously collected from random strangers in New York City, from sources such as discarded chewing gum and other saliva-covered debris. The project points toward ways that our genetic information is being weaponized as a form of surveillance.

In 2015, while former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was still incarcerated and any new images of her were being actively suppressed, Dewey-Hagborg used the same process to create DNA portrait masks of the noted whistleblower, with cheek swabs and hair samples provided by Manning through the mail. Two years later, the artist made 30 additional algorithmically generated portraits of Manning. Their continued collaboration examines our reliance on imagery and the imperfections of technology when understanding issues of gender and identity.

Dewey-Hagborg’s work has been discussed broadly in the media, including the New York Times and Wired Magazine. She is an artist fellow at AI Now, New York, an institution dedicated to studying the social ramifications of artificial intelligence; an artist in residence at the Exploratorium, San Francisco; and a visiting assistant professor of interactive media at NYU Abu Dhabi. She has a PhD in electronic arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Chelsea Manning is an activist, former intelligence analyst, and whistleblower who in 2010 disclosed nearly 750,000 US military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, exposing a range of governmental abuses. As a transgender woman and public speaker, Manning is now a highly visible leader in the movements for transgender justice and government accountability.

Click here to register for this free Zoom event.

Part of the Insights 2021 Design Lecture Series


This program will have live captioning. For more information about accessibility, or to request additional accommodations, call 612-375-7564 or email

For more information about accessibility at the Walker, visit our Access page.

  • Copresented by the Walker Art Center and AIGA Minnesota.

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