Cell 221
Former Prison in Berlin-Neukölln
48 Std. NeuköllnJune 17–19, 2011

How many men spent time in this cell? 
How many days did they pace this small space 
looking out the small window at the sky? 
What were their dreams? Their hopes? Their fears?

Any answers to these questions are lost in the mists of time.

But of some things we can be sure:
Billions of sperm were produced within these walls.
And some of those sperm were ejaculated here.
A type of escape — if only for a moment...  

a proliferating exhibition
Galerie Frei-Ruum, Berlin-Neukölln
March 19 — June 6, 2010

The sperm were joined by Michael the twisted wire man in one room of the gallery.
(Photos: Kim Yasmin Siemon)

While in the other room, six 9-month Pregnant Women were slowly entwined by bean plants over the nearly 3-month long exhibition...

as the Beobachterinnen (Female Observers) — faces of women who remain childless — looked on.

Spermblog Publication
Lauter Niemand, January 2009

The Spermblogs were honored to grace the pages of the January 2009 issue of Lauter Niemand, the Berlin-based journal for poetry and prose.

More Sperm in Art?

A search for other sperm-related artworks turned up the following results:

Anselm Kiefer's 20 Years of Solitude (1971-91): hundreds of books spattered with twenty years’ worth of the artist’s dry, yellow semen. Read more...

The British Jordan McKenzie, 40, engaged in epic auto-sexual orgies to create an exhibition, which is the result of his masturbating and ejaculating over the canvas. Read more...

Andres Serrano: although he's best-known for Piss Christ, he doesn't limit himself to just one bodily fluid in his art; he's also produced gorgeous photographic works that portrayed menstrual blood, human milk and, yes, our most beloved bodily fluid of all -- semen. Read more...

Bethann Shannon a.k.a. The Sperm Lady, who is all about bringing fun to safe sex awareness and sex education. 

And what about eggs?

Chrissy Conant's Chrissy's Caviar: and it's not just any caviar, it's made from her very own eggs. "Product of the Chrissy Conant ovaries," the label reads. "Ingredients: one egg, human tubal fluid. Caucasian." Calories are not noted. Read more...

The Future Shuttle — Berlin, October 2008

How will our fertility look in 20 years?

This was the question posed by the Sperm Project when it participated in the YouFooz "Future Shuttle," which travelled around the S-Bahn Ring in Berlin on a gray Saturday afternoon.

Passengers who happened to get on the "Future Shuttle" were presented with a wide range of concepts for how the world might look in 20 years – from housing to energy to nutrition – and got off, perhaps, with some food for thought.

The TAZ newspaper found the Sperm Project worth a mention:

El Escaparate — Barcelona, September 2008

Producing Sperm in the window

The Sperm in the window

In September 2008, the Sperm were invited to visit sunny Barcelona...

where men apparently suffer from a low sperm count — as the Guardian recently reported :

Spanish study links city life to low sperm count

Young men are at risk of a low sperm count if they live in cities, according to researchers in Spain. A study of 1,239 men aged between 18 and 30 found that in built-up areas such as Valencia and Catalonia, men with low sperm counts were two to three times more common than in more rural areas, such as Andalucia and Galicia. The research, conducted at more than 60 fertility clinics, compared men from different areas whose lifestyles were similar. Marisa Lopez-Teijon, whose study appears in the journal Andrologia, said the effect could be due to environmental toxins affecting baby boys in the womb.
Ian Sample

A comparison of sperm count in various cities in around the world, including Barcelona, is available here:


Berlin — March 2008

Click on the title to check out the video of the performance that marked the closing of the 'Spermaflut' exhibition.

Performance: Amy J. Klement
Music: Zam Johnson
Lighting Design: Heike Kujus
Camera & Editing: Heinrich Bindschädel, Retsina Film

Galerie LID Invalidenstr. 1, Berlin–Mitte
February 15 – March 15, 2008

Click on the image to see more views of the 'Spermaflut'
(Flood of Sperm) exhibition.
'A Sperm A Day'
January 1 – December 31, 2007

                              1 Woman
                                          1 Crochet Hook
                                          2 Hands
                                        36 Kg. Copper Wire
                                      365 Days
                                      771 Hrs. of Crochet in Public Spaces
                                    3353 Conversations about:
                                             The genesis, life and death of sperm
                                             The future of life and handwork

Frequently asked questions:

Why sperm?

It all began with making pregnant mermaids and the mother and daughter mermaids that followed. In the course of making them, one question quite naturally arose.

Question:        How do mermaids become pregnant?
Answer:          They swim through a school of sperm.

Armed with a 3.5 mm crochet hook and a 100 g roll of 0,50mm copper wire, I began producing sperm sporadically in public in 2005.

And what conversations took place. Many of them were filled with interesting information and anecdotes about sperm and fertility issues. But just as many of the conversations showed just how little the average person knows about sperm when asked for specifics.

Then came the ‘Viva’ performance festival in Montreal in 2006 for which the performance “How many sperm can a woman produce in 24 hours?” was conceived:  a bordello setting, fairy-tale like action juxtaposed with a video projection on issues confronting sperm today.

And in doing research for the video, I realized that the question of how many sperm a woman might be able to produce is not necessarily an idle one. Recent years have seen an alarming decrease in sperm production and an increase in sperm mutations in a wide range of species, including humans.

What a coincidence when in April 2007, in the middle of the project, the news broke: Scientists had produced immature human sperm from bone marrow stem cells. And the question of whether women might really be able to produce sperm themselves in the future arose.

Why crochet?

Over the last century or so in developed nations handwork has gone from being an everyday necessity to being a luxury. “I don’t have the time for it,” so many people say.

Yet handwork is all about taking time, about taking a pause from the hectic pace of modern life, about finding a contemplative space in the mind where fantasy can take flight, and practicing patience while performing a hands-on act of creation.

Why wire?

Wire manipulated with handwork techniques has been my medium of choice since the late 90s. Since then, I’ve been creating a wire world with the background question of whether technology, and wire — such an important component of modern technology and communication — might one day supplant life.

Because of its malleable character, wire is also an ideal material for creating 3-dimensional ‘sketch–shells’ of living creatures. Producing sperm in the medium of crocheted copper wire gives them a certain ‘aliveness,’ not only because of the way the weight corresponds to their proportions and  flexibility, but also because of the fact that every millimeter of the wire passes through my living hands.

Why crochet wire sperm in public spaces?
The minimalist act of crocheting wire in public environments, whether sperm or other forms, seems to act as a magnet for conversation, inviting comments and questions, whether on the meaning and necessity of handwork in our modern world today, on the symbolism of sperm, or on the reason why a woman would decide to choose to produce them.

As a result, crocheting sperm in public spaces provided fertile ground for sharing and gathering ideas for flights of fancy.


What is the Sperm Register?

Producing sperm led to people wanting to name them. The Sperm Register provides a record of the names people donated to the various sperm, their birthplaces, a color or color-combination.


What are the the Spermblogs?

With the decision to crochet a year’s worth of sperm and the desire to take a more ‘scientific’ approach to the endeavor, it seemed important to record how the sperm would evolve over the year, as well as a selection of the impressions and issues that arose in conversations had while producing them.

The ‘scientific’ basis I chose as the ‘DNA’ for the sperm crochet pattern was that of the Fibonacci Numbers since they play such a fundamental role in the shapes and forms of the natural world.

The Lorenz Manifold pattern published by the mathematicians Hinke M. Osinga & Bernd Krauskopf provided the next link. The pattern they created consists of seemingly chaotic sequences of numbers referring to the stitches in which you have to add (and at times decrease) stitches.

Yet, when one calculates the difference between the numbers, what appears is a series of numbers in which there is a pattern that recurs at chaotic intervals with minor variations. These in-between numbers form the order in the chaos.

In the pattern for the sperm, the Fibonacci Numbers form the pattern in between. Spermblogs I and II show the steps in the development of this Fibonacci-based pattern. The drawings in Spermblogs III–VI sketch the evolution in the use of two colors in each sperm. The Arabic numerals in Spermblogs V and VI indicate counterclockwise crochet. 

Why do the sperm made over the year look so different?
The first three and a half months of crocheting sperm were an experimental phase when I was playing with variations on a sperm pattern based on the Fibonacci Numbers and using only three colors. Once I had found the ‘ideal’ pattern, I began using two colors in each sperm and other factors increasingly came into play.

Although the Fibonaci-based pattern provided an order, various other factors introduced chaos into the equation:
1.         Concentration and mood and environment
2.         The fact that the different chemical composition of the lacquers on the wire or how they are applied affect flexibility, manageability and speed with which the wire moves through the fingers
3.         Changing from one color to the other often leads to dents, bumps and other irregularities
4.         Crocheting in two different directions. Counterclockwise crocheting leads to more robust, solid, rounded sperm.




The >>Sperm-A-Day<<>