Norman Foster awarded golden cast of his own brain

A Gift From Marina Abramovic

Norman Foster awarded golden cast of his own brain

(Courtesy David Vexelman)

British architect Norman Foster has been given the Scopus Award from the Friends of The Hebrew University. This year’s award saw Foster presented with a golden replica of his brain—all while Foster himself was also gifted a “mad scientist” brain cap complete with protruding LED lights. New York-based Serbian artist Marina Abramovic designed the award and presented it to Foster at Campus Biotech in Geneva.

The Scopus Award is the highest honor offered by the Friends of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Foster was given the prize for his “exceptional cultural contribution and humanitarian concerns.”  To make a (sadly non-functioning) copy of Foster’s brain, Abramovic used a 3D scan of the architect’s skull. Speaking in Artnet, Abramovic said:

I really like Norman Foster, and his sense of humor. And, he’s English, so I was thinking how to combine these things. So I thought, scan his brain. Let’s create some kind of replica of his brain itself, as a sculpture… You know, in England, every tea set has a tea cozy, so I said, let’s make a cozy for the brain, but one that can somehow create a charge or create light. It creates some kind of mad scientist idea of luminosity coming out.

Dubbed “The Golden Brain Gala” by attendees, guests were given gold-dusted chocolate casts if Abramovic’s lips as well as a rectangle of gold leaf (which attendees were encouraged to be used as lipstick). Afterward, guests had the opportunity to eat a golden ball made of almonds, black and white peppercorns, coriander seeds, honey, and 24-carat gold—a recipe Abramovic learned while fasting with Tibetan monks.