Cecilia Jonsson Haem

future, health

How much iron is in a human placenta?

Iron plays an essential role for humans during pregnancy, by transferring oxygen from the mother to the foetus across the placenta. The placenta acts as the interface between mother and foetus through a rich and complex network of blood vessels called the ‘labyrinth region’, due to its resemblance to a maze when observed under the microscope.

The labyrinth – where, classically, one gets lost – is where mother and child intimately meet and establish their first connection. Haem consists of a compass floating in the centre of a glass bowl, inspired by microscopic imaging of the placenta region. This compass concentrates the labor of 69 births, of thousands of hours of fluid exchange, at the earliest meeting point between
new and existing life. The magnetised needle that aligns itself to the North is presented as a guide that moves in a counter clockwise direction.

By combining expertise in the fields of art, life sciences and metallurgy, 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.

Installation; mixed media, 2016
Image: Cihad Caner

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The Artist: Cecilia Jonsson

Cecilia Jonsson is an interdisciplinary artist living in Norway. Jonsson develops her projects as investigations of physical and ideological properties of the raw materials that are fundamental to human existence, from their origins deep in the ground, to the extraction, transformation and global exploitation. Jonsson received her MFA from Bergen National Academy of the Arts and the Nordic Sound Art program. In 2014 she was awarded prize in VIDA, Art and Artificial Life International Awards for her project The Iron Ring. Jonsson made the rock-core drilling work for the Dark Ecology project and won the Bio Art & Design Award 2016.

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