Hybrid Art

Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions


Cecilia Jonsson (SE)


Iron, perhaps paling in nobility to its gold and silver elemental companions, through its nature and abundance has emerged as essential to life. The iron that runs through our veins and allows us to breathe is the same element from which the weapons, shields, and tools were fashioned that have allowed humanity to not only survive, but flourish, for millennia.

The physical basis of Haem is iron derived from an unexpected source–the human placenta. Although this transitional organ possesses a complex labyrinth of blood vessels, the placenta provides a direct connection between mother and developing child. Iron, plentiful throughout the process of exchange, plays an essential role, moving through this "maze", guiding oxygen from the mother to the fetus.

To symbolize this directed movement, a compass needle made out of metallic iron derived from the blood protein hemoglobin of donated human placentas was created. This object concentrates the labor of dozens of births, of thousands of hours of fluid exchange, at the earliest meeting point between new and existing life. The magnetized needle is in turn presented as a guide–as the elementary iron itself–in the middle of a rotating glass bowl, inspired by the labyrinth of nourishing vessels within the placenta. By bridging aspects of the arts, life sciences, and metallurgy, Haem addresses the intimate process of personal orientation, while pushing us to re-think our concept of nature, or "the thinking of interconnectedness". Haem reflects on the transformation of maternal resources into valuable personal processes, and on their power to direct us throughout life in the decisions we make, and directions we take, ultimately shaping who we are and the world we live in.

Haem is exhibited as an installation with the compass apparatus floating in the midst of a custom-made glass bowl inspired by cross-sections of microscopic imaging of the placenta. The magnetized needle that aligns itself towards the North moves in a counterclockwise direction to the slowly rotating bowl it is in. Accompanying the installation is a sound composition and a selective archive about the process, shown as wall-mounted vinyl letters that record the birth date and weight of the 69 donated placentas, and there is also a HD video that provides insight into the project.


Cecilia Jonsson

Cecilia Jonsson (SE/NO) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Bergen. Informed by methods used in the natural sciences, her works are often site-related, artistic interpretations of empirical material phenomena. Jonsson received her MA in Fine Art from the Bergen National Academy of the Arts and the Nordic Sound Art program. Her works have exhibited widely, and 2014 Jonsson was awarded second prize in VIDA 16.0 International Awards for her project The Iron Ring. Jonsson made the 170-meter-deep rock-core drilling work for The Dark Ecology project and won BADAward in 2016. http://www.ceciliajonsson.com

Haem is developed in close collaboration with Dr. Rodrigo Leite de Oliveira of The Netherlands Cancer lnstitute (NKI) in Amsterdam. Commissioned by Bio Art & Design Awards 2016 with the support of ZonMw. In cooperation with OLVG West and blacksmith Thijs Van der Manakker. The video is by Signe Tørå Karsrud and Sergio Cuervo Gonzalez and the sound composition by Marcello Sodano.