The Iron Ring is an installation about manipulation of the earth’s organic as well as inanimate matter, exploring a fascinating and productive tension between the two. Through artefacts and video documentation, Jonsson takes us through the steps required to create a 2 gram wrought iron ring from 24 kilograms of iron hyperaccumulating plants. These are a particular grass, Imperiata cylindrical, naturalized as weeds on toxic grounds at the Spanish mining site Rio Tinto. Involving close collaborators including scientists and blacksmiths, the artist leads us through processes of growing the plants, their extraction of iron from the ground, harvesting and burning to re-extract the metal, iron reduction from the ash, and ultimately casting the ring. The work portrays a complex ecosystem that includes not just metal and plant materials but also information, tools, fire and skills. This is very close to the spirit of Manuel De Landa’s materialist philosophy that expands the sense of matter to encompass the energy and information flows–both human and nonhuman–in material systems. Jonsson aptly frames her core interest as the slippages across nature and technology, environmental awareness and social culture, a set of concerns that seem ever more pressing as topics for art practice.
About the author
Cecilia Jonsson is a multidisciplinary artist whose work resides in the underlining attempt to understand the complexity of ecosystems. Jonsson holds her MFA from Bergen Academy of Art and Design and the Nordic Sound Art program from 2012 and has exhibited work at home in Norway and widely across Europe. Working conceptually, Jonsson utilizes a wide range of different media within sculpture, installation, sound and video to electronic bending, microscopy and performative acts. Plants, water and iron forms the backdrop to several of her works, where these elements operate as figures and thematics in imagined slippages between nature and technology, environmental concerns and social culture. In 2014 she received the Norwegian State 3 year working grant for young new emerging artists and was selected to participate in ‘Making_Life’ a joint research platform between art and synthetic biology.