Tobias Klein, Jane Prophet, Victor Leung Blood Works

future, health

What is responsible for the colour of blood?

Blood Works is a biologically inspired, transparent kinetic sculpture filled with blue and red liquids contained in interlocking glass-blown structures supported by a gyroscope-like framework. The liquids move as the sculpture shifts and spins. The artwork considers the properties and qualities of blood in different species, including fluidity, coagulation, metal content and closed cardiovascular systems. The conflation of life with the constant movement of blood became a key design criteria as organic 3D forms were developed with chambers and vascular-like structures to contain moving fluids.

Some species have blue blood, such as the horseshoe crab, which is a result of the copperrich protein hemocyanin. Humans and many other animals have red blood due to hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein that transports oxygen and turns blood red. Liquids based on copper and iron represent these different blood types, each partnered with a clear liquid to reveal the dynamic movement of liquids in the chambers.

The blood flowing through the right and left sides of the heart do not mix, but stream and loop past each other, just like two currents in a body of water. As the heart develops before birth, in the ‘still water zone’ between the two currents, the septum dividing the two chambers forms. The movement of the blood shapes the heart, just as the looping heart redirects the flow of blood. Rather than the twisting muscular contraction of the human heart, gimbals and gyroscopic movement make this sculpture rotate and turn.

Kinetic sculpture, 2017
Image: Tobias Klein

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The Artist: Tobias Klein

Tobias Klein, trained as an architect, and works between architecture, art and installation. His works are known for their experimental design, interactivity and urbanism. His static and dynamic models at different scales shift from objects to installations and design, prospecting new visual territories in the field of embodied space.

The Artist: Jane Prophet

Jane Prophet’s artworks emerge through collaborations with scientists such as neuroscientists, stem cell researchers, mathematicians and heart surgeons. She works across media to produce objects and installations, frequently combining traditional and computational processes.

The Artist: Victor Leung

Victor Leung is a researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who focuses on the application of robotics to architectural design and building construction.