LASERZURICH with LASER LEONARDO present a seminar at ARS ELECTRONICA (pre recorded event)


Leonardo / ISAST (US), University of Art and Design Linz (AT), The LASER Hosts Global Network

#LASERTalks #arselectronica21


This LASER ZURICH event constitutes an immersive presentation by six researchers in four parts. They focus on how and why the production of our food will change in the future to incorporate the concepts of wild plants, cultivated plants and in-vitro plants. This event is related to the current Art Science Node Artists in Residence Program in CHIC: a 2020 EU Horizon project. It will feature presentations by artistic and scientific researchers (three talks, a film, an AR exhibition, and a discussion).

Small green plants growing in a petridish

Chicory is a native European wild plant with beautiful blue flowers. It has also been cultivated for coffee and medicine. Here we present a new interactive artwork and current scientific research on the benefits and molecular structures of wild root-plants.

Currently, some commercial cultivation of chicory takes place to produce the food fiber inulin. This part features in a new documentary film about inulin production, and how biochemists are exploring its potentials as a low-calorie sweetener, a fat replacer and even as a probiotic for the colon.

Biochemists in the CHIC 2020 Horizon project use new breeding plant techniques to enhance the health benefits of inulin and to produce bioactive terpenes with medicinal applications. Here, a scientist presents the potentials of plant cell cultures to improve food systems, and a curator shows an AR exhibition by artists who explore plants for the future.

A panel discussion between the three artists and the three scientists, led by Johanna Hoffman and Jill Scott.


Jill Scott

Artist, teacher and context provider with 40 years’ experience in the unique transdisciplinary field of art, science and technology interactions. Her research spans neuroscience, electronics, ecology, sociology, sculpture, performative installation and media art. Her interactive media installations, which immerse viewers inside designed environments, focus on the human body, the social and physical impact of technology on our bodies, and the health of our environment.

Katja Cankar

Senior-scientist at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands, with 12 years of experience in terpene research. Her main focus is terpene biochemical pathway discovery and metabolic engineering. She obtained her PhD degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Since 2007, she has participated in several projects on plant cell wall engineering and secondary metabolism engineering at Wageningen.

Marille Hahne

Professor in Filmmaking with a background in Optical Engineering and in Fine Arts. For 25 years she taught at the Zürich University of the Arts (ZHdK), and was the director of their Master’s in Education program. She also lectured at the HFF, Munich and at the Goethe Institute, India. Since 1983, she has directed documentaries in Germany, the US and Australia, and now specializes in documentary film direction and production about art and science collaborations (AIL Productions and Neuromedia).

Ingrid van der Meer

Obtained her PhD at the Free University in Amsterdam on Regulation of Plant Gene Expression. She has more than 25 years of experience in plant biotechnology research, and has coordinated several research projects with a focus on the biosynthesis and regulation of biobased plant compounds. She is currently heading the Department of Bioscience at Wageningen University & Research. She coordinated the research project focusing on inulin and rubber biosynthesis in Russian dandelion, and for more than 20 years has worked on inulin biosynthesis and chicory.

Joanna Hoffmann-Dietrich

Artist and academic, and a Professor at the University of Fine Arts in Poznań and a Fellow of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Poland. Hoffmann-Dietrich mostly works in the fields of multimedia installations, experimental video-animation, and book art, which have been presented internationally for many years. She is also co-founder and Chair of the Art and Science Node in Berlin, Germany and the Club for Science and Art in Poznań, Poland.

Suvi Häkkinen

Senior scientist in the Plant Biotechnology team of VTT, a leading multi- technological applied research organization in Finland. She has over 15 years of experience working with plant secondary metabolite in various national and international research projects. Her expertise includes plant genetic engineering, modular cloning, plant genome editing, bioconversion, statistical experimental design and the cryopreservation of plant cells.


Life Science Zurich (CH), Wageningen University Research (NL), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (FI), University of Zurich (CH), ETH Zurich (CH), Artists in Labs Program at the University of the Arts, ZHdK (CH), World Wildlife Fund Volunteers (CH), Art and Science Node (DE)