Blue Flower is an augmented reality (AR) app for iPhone and Android devices allowing you to plant chicory anywhere in the world.

Artists Alex May and Anna Dumitriu are creating a new sculptural bio-digital installation that can exist across both real and virtual spaces. It is based on an exploration of chicory plant research. The artists focus on the areas of the use of chicory for dietary fibre and its impact on human health and the human microbiome, and explore the uses of inulin and medicinal terpenes extracted from chicory.

Biotechnology from the Blue Flower
The Unnatural that too is natural (Goethe)

by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May

  • Click Start
  • Point your phone at the floor and move around until you see a chicory root appear
  • Click on the screen to sow a chicory plant
  • Move around and sow as many chicory plants as you want

Chicory inspired the symbol of the Blue Flower in German Romanticism, a reaction against the industrial revolution which privileged the natural world. It influenced Goethe’s concept of the ‘Urpflanze’ or primal plant. Through research into new plant breeding methods chicory now becomes a symbol of the biotechnological revolution as we open our minds to new definitions of ‘natural’. These gene edited plants are not normally allowed to leave the laboratory but through augmented reality you can fill your world with them.

“Biotechnology from the Blue Flower” was created by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May as part of the ASN-AIR program 2018-2022 in the CHIC science labs. The residency commission was awarded through Art Science Node. ASN/ASSF is a partner in the CHIC Consortium, CHIC is a research and innovation project supported through the EU Horizon 2020 funding programme.

Photos by: Anna Dumitriu and Alex May

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