Hilda Hellström | The way an algae transforms into a rock

Public commission | Stockholm University Library

In March 2021, Hilda Hellström's public commission "The Way an Algae Transforms into a Rock" was installed in a three story atrium at the Stockholm University Library. The work consists of three parts, creating a narrative that starts by the bottom floor. 


Starting at the bottom, the viewer meets a block of stone with reliefs of diatoms, a silica-covered algae. Here, the viewer meets a block of stone with reliefs of diatoms. When diatoms die, they fall down on the ocean floor, where they eventually sediment into the porous rock called diatomite. Algae transforms into rock. If the viewer turns around the corner, they will notice that the block in fact isn't solid, but cast on a wooden construction. It creates the illusory effect of a set design, a way of emphasizing a material deconstruction that both attempts to break down and build up a conception of reality. On the second floor of the atrium the wooden construction becomes a framework for reliefs. A body pours a liquid into a mirror image, creating a figure of a closed circle and a flow. The Bodélé desert in central Africa, an ancient evaporated sea, consists of diatomite. Enduring winds brings dust from the porous rock over the Atlantic to the Amazon, a nutritious process which is shown to be a precondition for the survival of the rainforest. The microcosmos of the diatoms conspires with the macrocosmos of the winds in a natural cycle. By the top floor you will find a framed, enlarged diatom in clay.  


Read more about the project (in Swedish)



Stockholms universitetsbibliotek

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