RSA New Contemporaries, The David Harding Public Art Project Prize, Critical Theory Prize

School of Fine Art Sculpture & Environmental Art

Chiara van den Hoven


I’m interested in poetry, tech, and ventriloquism, and work between digital code, photographic print and bits and pieces of physical sculpture.

Recently, I’ve been curious about how technological materials and processes might relate to language and linguistic structures. Ventriloquism, when one party speaks through mouth of another, has become a useful metaphor for understanding how these fields might relate. I like to convert, copy and ventriloquise technical structures in an attempt to bring out an alternative, more poetic set of material relations. Mystery, to me, has become the best strategy for doing so.






Finding His Iris
Art in Hospital: Scanography
Studies for a Fall

Finding His Iris

1913: engineer August Natterer has an episode of hallucinatory visions. He draws his eyes after the event with a dark, knotted pattern around one iris. He says that the vision was so powerful it must have left a mark on his actual eye.

Four sheets of organza interfere with each-other. Their pattern etches the walls and is cut into the floorboards.

I think about this iris often, and what it might be like to be inscribed by the things I see.



material list:

eyewash (4,000 ml) applied to the floor and walls

spruce veneers

steel brackets

synthetic organza

wall sections


Organza interference.
Detail of wall section.
Excerpt from 'Index', a digital web portal.
'Finding his Iris: Index' Bookwork.
'Finding his Iris: Index' Bookwork.

Art in Hospital: Scanography

Student Placement with Art in Hospital

Between November 2021 and April 2022, I undertook a student placement with Art in Hospital, an organisation which delivers an ongoing visual arts programme for patients in the healthcare areas of Medicine for Older People, Rehabilitation, Palliative Care and Community and Mental Health across the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde region of Scotland. The placement took place in Greenfield Park Care Home, The New Victoria Hospital and the Neurological Rehabilitation Unit at The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

To work collaboratively with patients through the Art in Hospital programme, I proposed a series of workshops on ‘scanography’, the
practice of using a regular document scanner to produce creative photographs. A flatbed scanner is quite different from a traditional camera. Rather than being captured all at once, a digital image is built up bit-by-bit as an internal light illuminates objects placed on the scanner’s glass bed. This technique is a little experimental, but it strikes a balance between the technological and natural methods, as traces of dust and smudges of light are caught up in each digital image

In an effort to explore the creative capacity of the scanner in a hospital and care home setting, participants were invited to experiment with
placing a variety of objects and materials onto the scanner. Some participants arranged objects in an energetic and spontaneous style,
while others took a slower approach, considering the orientation of every object on the surface of the glass. To me, each scan reveals the depths of the participants’ creative abilities, and showcases their intuitive and ingenious approaches to technology.

A publication, titled ‘Scanography’, was made to document the work made by patients throughout this placement, and an interview of my thoughts on the project with Art in Hospital artist Daisy Richardson is available here.

Interview with Daisy Richardson for the AIH: Through a Window website.

Scanography Publication (pdf Version)

Studies for a Fall

Studies for a Fall is a set of two images, split across sheets of organza. The work came out of doing some research on magnetism, specifically the levitation of objects using magnetic ‘bitter’ coils in experiments conducted in the late 1990s, which included the magnetic levitation of frogs, drops of water, crickets and hazelnuts.

Studies for a Fall, Felt Prints


Series of digital scans of ferrofluid (magnetic liquid) on spruce wood.

(anatomy) a slice of tissue, see: biopsy.

(biology) a division of a genus; a group of a species separated by some distinction from others of the same genus.

(architecture) a ‘section drawing’ shows a view of a structure as though its walls had been sliced open.

Detail of 'Section'
Installation View
Installation View