ASN/ASSF is a partner in the CHIC Consortium, CHIC is a research and innovation project supported through the EU Horizon 2020 funding programme.
The €7.3 million project supports the establishment of a responsible innovation pathway for the development and application of New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) for chicory as a multipurpose crop for the production of high-value consumer products, in line with societal needs and concerns. The consortium includes SMEs, an industrial partner, non-profit organizations and research institutes from 11 European countries and one from New Zealand.
CHIC strategic objectives
ASN/ASSF & CHIC
ASN/ASSF will contribute to the highly interdisciplinary CHIC project through an innovative communication strategy of art and science synergy, giving artists and cultural actors a rare opportunity to work at the forefront of science and innovation. The planned art and science program, including two artistic residencies at research institutes, aims to link scientific research and ideas with approaches used in digital art, fostering interdisciplinary work towards an exchange of cultures and milieus.
ASN/ASSF art and science program
For the planned art and science program, including artistic residencies at research institutes, ASN/ASSF has selected artists who applied through a competitive application process. Artists were selected based on the detailed descriptions/sketches of their proposed artworks, and their experience and engagement within the art-science environment. Artists who are committed to the aims of linking scientific research and ideas with approaches used in digital art, fostering interdisciplinary work towards an exchange of cultures and milieus.
The residency has started for all the artists that have been selected:
Prof. Dr. Jill Scott and Prof. Marille Hahne.
Anna Dumitriu and Alex May.
Prof. Dr Jill Scott and Prof. Marille Hahne
Founder: Swiss Artists-in Labs Program, LASER ZURICH. Leonardo Professor Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts und Film Studies Zurich University of the Arts.
Selected artwork: Aftertaste, Prof. Dr. Jill Scott
Aftertaste and the Chicory Plant(cichorium intybus).
•an interactive media-art work
•a public event
•a documentary video/film
From Neuroscience and ecology to Aftertaste
What happens to chicory once it is eaten?
How does chicory affect your health or well being?
How does the sensation of chicory linger in the mouth so one can smell it and register a flavour out of it?
Taste and smell combined to register flavour in the brain.
Prof. Marille Hahne, Documentary short film
• Collection of robust knowledge
• Highlighting research results
• Making conclusions traceable for others
Interviews are based on sociological surveys
• Provide access for other researchers and public
• Trace the personal experiences
• Know-how transfer: art-science-art
The Aftertaste project
The Aftertaste project is based on research about the flavor, molecular behavior and health benefits of the chicory plant (cichorium intybus). Here the public can learn about the specific healing properties of its roots, seeds, and leaves in an engaging way
Aftertaste is an interactive media series that is based on the flavor of the chicory root, seeds and leaves for the consumer to learn about the plant and some of its healing properties.
Taste and smell combine to register flavor in the brain. Hence the working title “Aftertaste”. Aftertaste consists of four parts: a prototype, an interactive artwork, an event and a short documentary film.
The interactive artwork would consist of two scaled up abstract models based on the duel levels of the sensory perception of flavor.
The Interactive Artwork is a central component:
In Aftertaste, the first model is based on taste (the gustatory system) and the second model is based on smell (the olfaction system). The taste model is represented by the tongue while the smell model represents the olfactory bulb. These models are inspired by 3D segmentation from isotropic MRI volumes and images from SEM scans.
The visitor takes a molecule based on the chicory root from the olfactory bulb and places it on the model of the tongue (using magnetics). This creates a trigger point for a projected film on the tounge and a sound loop from the molcule to occur. Each molecule tells a different story. Various triggered film loops will appear projected on the tongue.
Inulin and its subgroup OblioFrutose
- The Gut: How can media art present potentials of how inulin
- Other Health benefits of inulin.
The artist is particularly interested in how inulin and oligofructose might be introduced into classic protocols of human cancer treatment as a new, non-toxic and easily applicable adjuvant cancer therapy without any additional risk to patients.
The central nervous system.
What kinds of sedative and analgesic effects can lactucopicrin produce on the central nervous system?
What is the difference to dandelion coffee?
How do they effect neurotransmission?
How is this tested in vitro for malaria?
Phenolics and other substances also found in the leaf, flower and seeds
- Caffeoylquinic acids: How do they improve glycemia, atherogenic index and antioxidant status in various lab experiments?
- Chicoric acid: Learn through vivo and en-vitro studies about the effects on the immune defence system, including phagocytosis, T-cell production, interferon, immunoglobulin and other chemicals.
- Quercetin glucuronide: How does this bioflavonoid cause growth inhibition in a variety of human cancer cells?
Film: Chicory Unpacked
The film which is a documentary film on the process with interviews from the scientists and other stakeholders would be the final report. In this film the artists interview the scientists about their research and they discuss the art and science interaction as well as the traditional and modern methods of usage.
It is well known in Science Museum analysis that the audience benefits from interaction. Interaction allows them to explore information in their own space and time. For example, through an animated film loop, one can show not only how inulin is extracted, but how these prebiotic polymers are not digested in the upper gastrointestinal tract Here they stimulate the growth of intestinal bifidobacteria. In Aftertaste, the artist can conduct surveys about the feeling on the tongue of the food. Perhaps also discussing about oligofructose with its sweet flavor or about how they feel about genetically manipulated improvements in other foods, fortify foods with fiber, or improve the flavor and sweetness of low calorie foods or the texture of fat-reduced foods. Perhaps even the smells from the plant can be built into the molecules.
As an artist who can work with the potentials of combining cultural information, she would also like to explore the different cultural and historical aspects of the use of chicory, particularly in Europe. Here the seeds, the leaves, the roots and the flowers have a long cultural history of useful by-products, which the artist would be eager to learn about.
Prof. Dr. Jill Scott and Prof. Marille Hahne conclude that interactive media-art will be a catalyst to open up discourses about the ethical and social side of the CHIC research results and processes in the future.
Anna Dumitriu and Alex May
Anna Dumitriu is a British artist who works with BioArt, sculpture, installation, and digital media to explore our relationship to infectious diseases, synthetic biology and robotics.
Alex May is a British artist creating digital technologies to challenge and augment physical and emotional human boundaries on a personal and societal level in a hyper-connected, software mediated, politically and environmentally unstable world.
Selected artwork: Biotechnology from the Blue Flower
Anna Dumitriu and Alex May’s work will emerge through their residency process embedded within the research of the CHIC Programme. It will be created through a dialogue with the researchers and inspired by the latest research in the field which focusses on New Plant Breeding Techniques for chicory as a multipurpose crop for the production of terpenes and inulin for human health applications.
- Creating a new sculptural bio-digital installation which can exist across both real and virtual spaces.
- Based on the exploration of chicory plant research.
Biotechnology from the Blue Flower project:
The artists will create a new sculptural bio-digital installation which can exist across both real and virtual spaces. It will be based on an exploration of chicory plant research. The artists will focus on the areas of the use of chicory for dietary fibre and its impact on human health and the human microbiome, and we will explore the uses of inulin and medicinal terpenes extracted from chicory.
They will work with the plants themselves: the roots, chicory flour and chicory inulin and terpenes, as well as other potential materials we might discover. Both artists have extensive experience in working with biological media including medicines and genetically modified materials and therefore have a good understanding of health and safety, ethical and biocontainment issues.
These sculptural, physical materials will be fused with video footage from the laboratory and data visualisations derived from the research processed through 3D scanning and modelling techniques (using Blender) to create a dramatic interactive artwork that we envisage will be brought to life using digital technologies such as video-mapping and sensor technology to create an exciting and affecting gallery or museum installation.
Their 3D scanning and modelling techniques may also be used to generate either augmented reality (AR) experiences or virtual reality (VR) 3D video content accessible via low-cost cardboard VR headsets and Smartphones with uploaded to YouTube.
Their aim is to reach out to large audiences and provide a wide and exciting range of potential ways they can interact with their work across arts, science and online settings, for example an AR experience that can be triggered by a paper models that can be printed and made at home.
The artists are keen to explore the morphology of the chicory plants in the work as well as the history and cultural impacts of the plants throughout history, for example as an ancient remedy or a coffee additive in times of crisis, and then draw a thread between those histories and cutting edge contemporary research in the field and the potential future benefits of working with techniques such as CRISPR to provide healthcare and food benefits. They have substantial previous experience in this area having both developed artworks individually in this area.
The final artwork would also be accompanied by a participatory drop-in workshop activity using materials and techniques to create a forum for dialogue and discussion, as well as an events programme
EU Research & Innovation
How can artists and art play a role in the interaction between scientists and the public?
Consider the role of art in the interaction between science and the public and the power of art in the public sphere through:
Science through art benefits culture of our evolving society of knowledge
Can you imagine how our future society will progress with science and technology but without culture or the arts?
Art creates social and cultural cohesion between science and the public
Art is not only one of the multiple tools of communication but also an innovative and unique tool for disseminating knowledge
Artists are best placed to use this tool because they create this tool.
The artwork itself comes from the fusion of science and art.
Art cannot be instrumentalized but it can use efficiently science and raise awareness about the challenges of XXI century and the impact and importance of scientific research
The message of science over art is often better perceived by the public.
For better acceptance by the general public.
Artist is the best mediator between scientist and public
Artists enjoy freedom but they can play the ambassador role:
It is a double ambassador role: they can be the voice of science for the public, but also vice versa, as artists can be the voice of the public
in the science world. Artists through their various creative and unique communication strategies, bridging various areas of human experience and research, can help to open new perceptions to the public and to think out of the box.
Art has multiple functions in society.