It started with hair clippings and a Q-tip of saliva, mailed from a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Now it’s a show at the Fridman Gallerythat opens on Aug. 2.
The artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Chelsea Manning, who was imprisoned for seven years for leaking government files to WikiLeaks, are to have a collaborative show called “A Becoming Resemblance.”
The show will display 3D portraits that resemble masks, which Ms. Dewey-Hagborg produced from the DNA on the swabs Ms. Manning mailed to her from prison. Ms. Dewey-Hagborg has created work from genetic material in the past and, in this case, 3D-printed 30 computer-generated renderings of a variety of faces that could be derived from Ms. Manning’s DNA samples.
Ms. Manning, who underwent gender transition surgery while incarcerated, was released in May after former President Barack Obama commuted most of the remainder of her sentence.
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The 3D-printed portraits, titled “Probably Chelsea,” will hang on fishing line from a dropped ceiling in the center of the gallery. The gallery’s director, Iliya Fridman, said, “The ‘Probably Chelseas’ will be in a lot of different places on the gender and race spectrum. It really demonstrates that there are so many elements of DNA that are common to humans.”
The show isn’t supposed to be about WikiLeaks, Mr. Fridman said, but sometimes the political parallel is too powerful to resist. “A super-powerful dynamic happening here is that the freedom one could gain by defining one’s own DNA in a variety of ways is really metaphorical to the freedom the entire country could gain from releasing secret data,” Mr. Fridman said.
Mr. Fridman said the show would also feature images from a graphic short story illustrated by Shoili Kanungo, “Suppressed Images,” that recounts the collaboration between Ms. Manning and Ms. Dewey-Hagborg. The story ends with an image of Ms. Manning going to a gallery after her release.