Roger Lougher and Anne-Mie Melis have been collaborating for the g39 UNIT(e) programme (2017, Cardiff). They have researched growing vegetables in the unnatural habitat of the gallery space and cultivated chicory in the darkness of one of the storage cupboards. This process was shared with the public through performance, talks, food and art events at g39. The artists are interested in how we live within our environment and the possibility of this being done in a sustainable way. What is the ecological impact of contemporary society on the natural environment and how is this framed philosophically and represented in art?
For the live events Lougher and Melis conspired with the chicory entity 'flexine' to encourage it to answer their queries and the curiosity of the public. In contrast to this, the artists invited Dr. Walter Dewitte, Senior Lecturer / Researcher in Plant Sciences at Cardiff University, who gave a talk about the similarity between plant growth and artist production and how our society is organised. Chicory prepared in a number of ways was consumed on the day.A website was created and also a small publication with four recipe cards was produced as part of this project. The brochure in three languages (Welsh, English and Dutch) encourages open mindedness beyond borders and a responsibility towards our planet.
'The Encounters with Chicory' (talk, food and art events) happened on 14 July, 8 and 9 September 2017 at g39 in Cardiff.
References for the project research:
What Is It Like to Be a Bat?, Thomas Nagel. The Philosophical Review, Vol. 83, No. 4 (Oct., 1974)
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World, On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, 2015 by Princeton University Press
Annemieke M. Kiers, Endive, Chicory, and their wild relatives, A systematic and phylogenetic study of Cichorium (Asteraceae) (Jan., 2000)