Boyer Flowers

This collection of living flowers reacts to human touch by emitting a fluorescent glow.

The name Boyer is a tribute to the psychologist Pascal Boyer and his work within the cognitive science of religion that aims to explain beliefs in gods and supernatural things. Specifically his research that talks about minimally counter-intuitive concepts (MCI). Simply put an MCI is a concept where one or two of our natural expectations of something is broken. A crying statue of Virgin Mary and Wolverine are two examples. MCIs are easy to understand and believe in because they mostly meet our expectations. But by breaking one of them they demand more of our
attention making them more likely to be remembered and spread. MCIs play an important role in myths, legends, folktales and religious scripts all around the world.

Boyer Flowers look and act just like regular flowers but with the difference that they react to human touch by emitting a fluorescent glow. The effect is reached through capacitive sensing turning the flowers into touch sensors and through fluorescent paint only visible in UV light. The tech is chosen and implemented in a way to make it as invisible as possible encouraging the visitor to seek supernatural explanations rather than technical.

Boyer Flowers was funded through Region Skåne’s arts grant for digital development, for ETER festival organized by Little Finger in Lund, Sweden 2018.


Tools: Custom PCB (design by Davey Taylor at DS Prototyp), UV leds, Flowers painted in fluorescent paint
Partners: DS prototyp, Little Finger

Funded by: Region Skåne

Photos courtesy of Jamin Pirnia