Alison Hiltner is a multi-disciplinary artist who creates sculptures and installations around biologically-inspired themes and esthetics. Alison collaborates with Dr. Paul Iaizzo, the director of education in the Lillehei Heart Institute and the Visible Heart® laboratory, and Dr. Brenda Ogle, an associate professor in the Stem Cell Institute in the Department of Bioengineering. Together they are working to learn how sculpture can inform cardiac device creation and how cardiology research can inform biologically inspired art. Alison is a 2018 McKnight Visual Artist Fellow and Associate Director of Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis.

Following a “Heart and Art” panel in November, 2018, Alison has made a number of temporary installations in the Target Studio and discussed her partnership with the Visible Heart and the System Regeneration laboratories on May 1, 2019. As part of the event, Hiltner invited artists to interact with the first prototypes generated from her experiences at both laboratories. The installation was an initial attempt for at creating a touchable, physical interface for the heartbeat. The evening include performances choreographed by Chris Schlichting that offered another layer of how our actions are both spontaneous and learned. Participating Dancers included Mirabai Miller, Tori Cassagranda, Marggie Ogas, Julia Bither, Hettie Stern, Rachel Clark, Nicole Stumpf, Laura Selle Virtucio, Marisol Herling, Shui Xian, and Emilia Bruno.


Read an update from Alison where she was thick in the idea germination part of her process.


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Image: Hiltner (left) encourages audiences to interact with her first prototypes as part of her temporary installation in the Target Studio; Hiltner, It Was Tomorrow, It Is Yesterday, 2017. 9 plastic polymer vessels filled with cyanbacteria with toxic mutation removed and native Norwegian green algae; sensor and micro-controllers; video projection; pumps, tubes and various fabricated objects.