Hongjie Yang

VAT ID: NL002475293B38 / info@hongjieyang.nl / +31(0)629055611 / Eindhoven, the Netherlands /

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Synthesis Monolith 9 / Radical Fossils 3 / Metallic Transformation 2 / Semi-human Vase 2Metaevolution 1

This project presents three vases derived from human HeLa cells, permanently preserved within glass tubes of chemicals. Developed for the La Fabrique du Vivant exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the work builds upon an earlier iteration, Semi-Human Vase (2015). Following recent breakthroughs in human tissue engineering for medical purposes, this work is a conceptual reflection on the design potential of these technologies and the dissolving borders between humans and objects.

Created through a close collaboration with biomedical engineering professor Dr. Patricia Dankers and her PhD candidate Dan Jing Wu at the Technology University Eindhoven, the vases aim to pay tribute to the HeLa cells or ‘immortal cells’ from which they are crafted. Discovered in the 1950s, HeLa cells are used in scientific cell and tissue research and have led to major breakthroughs in disease research and gene mapping. They were also the first human cells cloned.

Each vase was created using a 3D-printed biodegradable polymer scaffold that was partially induced into human tissue. They were then stained blue with Coomassie protein dye, a colourused in laboratories to give cells visibility. The resulting appearance references blue-and-white colour pottery.

TU/eindhoven Press Release
Funded by Creative Industries Fund
Semi-human Vase II, 2019,
Hela Cells on PCL Scaffolds, 60 x 45 x 10 cm


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