“Physic-AI Garden” takes the form of stunning and dynamic digital garden, where beautiful virtual plants and fungi grow and interact with each other and with audiences. The plants each represent different drugs and the garden grows according to what drugs work well together and what drugs interact negatively or cause side effects.
Audiences can ‘plant’ seeds (either via an iPad or bespoke sculptural interface), which represent different pharmaceutical treatments within the ecosystem, and watch them flourish or wither depending on whether those drugs are contraindicated.
Side effects are represented through blemishes on the plant leaves and a healthy ecosystem is represented by butterflies and pollen.
The artwork is based on actual data of drug interactions. The project is inspired by notions of permaculture which puts plants that grow well together next to each other and considers the whole ecosystem. It is also influenced by ideas around medicinal plants and in particular the medieval concept of the physic garden.
The artwork also references the mental health tools employed in the CAPABLE App to support vulnerable patients which can enhance wellbeing by suggesting beneficial activities, these include growing plants from seed, photographing the sky, and walking in nature. These can all be experienced and mediated though this ground-breaking installation, as the skyscape changes based on the number of plants growing in the system.
Both artists have extensive experience in working with artificial intelligence and wearable technologies and exploring the implications of emerging digital technologies in societal and cultural contexts. Together they will help CAPABLE reach out to diverse audiences across a range of contexts including art galleries, festivals and patient waiting areas, and enable the telling of complex stories in multi-layered, accessible ways through art objects, workshops, and discussion events.
“We are honoured to receive this fantastic opportunity to work with CAPABLE and explore this important project to benefit cancer patients and carers. As artists, we are exploring how CAPABLE are using artificial intelligence and wearable technologies to create personalised medicine solutions and consider the personal, ethical, cultural and societal implications of this ground-breaking research” says Anna Dumitriu.
The work exists in multiple forms: an interactive immersive installation, as a bespoke video installation (featuring a garden ‘planted’ by stakeholders such as patients), a series of 2D printed works, and as a large-scale video-mapped building projection.
“Physic-AI Garden” is a collaboration between Anna Dumitriu and Alex May with the EU funded CAPABLE project. CAPABLE aims to develop a virtual cancer coaching system to support the emotional, educational and social needs of patients and their home carers, as well as decision support needs of treating physicians, using cutting edge technologies for personalised medicine such as artificial intelligence, big data analysis and wearable technologies.
This art project has been commissioned by the CAPABLE Project. CAPABLE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 875052.
Exhibitions and Outcomes
A video of Physic-AI Garden was shown as part of “BioArt Knowledge” at the Yarrow Gallery, Oundle, UK from 9th November to 6th December 2023 as well as a full scale building projection on the historic facade of the gallery.
The fully interactive version of Physic-AI Garden premiered at the the Technical Museum at Politehnica University Timisoara at the Experimentarium in Timisoara, Romania as part of the European Capital of Culture, European Researchers Night and Open Campus Night in collaboration with the Romanian Science Festival and the Polytechnic University of Timisoara on 29th September 2023 and continues until 15th October 2023.
Anna Dumitriu and Alex May spoke about Physic-AI Garden in their individual talks as part of the Science at Midnight event for the Open Campus Night as part of the European Researcher’s night at 10pm on 29th September 2023 in the Sala Polivalenta din BUPT, Timisoara, Romania, as part of as part of the European Capital of Culture Timisoara 2023.
A print of Physic AI Garden is on show as part of the Computer Arts Society 2023 Exhibition at the BCS (Chartered Institute for IT) Moorgate in London, UK from 10th July – 30th of November 2023. A video of the work was showcased as part of the opening celebration during the EVA (Electronic Visualisation and the Arts) Conference.