Otto Piene is a co-founder of the ZERO group, which aims to redefine art for a new beginning after the Second World War. In addition to open-air happenings that incorporate laser light and video projections, Piene took a leap into the sky with the creation in 1969 of the concept of Sky Art, developed in part during his tenure at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At multi-sensory events, in which artists and scientists participate, they set up giant, colourful inflatable installations that rise and float in the sky using helium tubes.
With its 96 tentacles, Blue Star Linz is one of the largest of these structures. It was deployed in the air for the first time at a "Sky Event" organised by Walter Haupt, creator of the Linzer Klangwolke (Linz Sound Clouds) event, on 9 September 1980 in Linz, Austria. The Fourth Symphony by the Romantic composer Anton Bruckner was played by an orchestra on this occasion, in connection with the Ars Electronica/Brucknerfest festival. In 1981, Blue Star Linz appeared again in the sky for the first Sky Art Conference of the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies in Cambridge. The blue flower, a symbol of German romanticism, also echoes the monochrome colour of Yves Klein, a close friend of Otto Piene, who died in 1962.