Biodata Installation

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My most recent work, in which the human genome is reinterpreted to produce a four hundred year long melody. Designed to be viewed in a dark space, the piece creates a spatialised melody from the biodata in realtime, accompanied by synchronised illumination from beneath the boat. The work also senses entities in the space and intensifies in response to the presence of a participant.

The human genome is encoded as a sequence of genetic bases, A, C, G and T (adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine). The entire genome sequence is approximately 3.2 billion bases in length, yet fits into a cell nucleus the size of a pinpoint. Most cells in our bodies contain at least one copy. By considering each base as corresponding to a note or pitch, the entire genome becomes a musical score. Using sequence data that is freely available online (thanks to the Human Genome Project), the piece generates a dynamic spatialised melody using four speakers. At a rate of approximately 15bpm, the melody would take a little over four hundred years to play in its entirety, far outliving the natural lifespan of any human.

Each time a note plays the light beneath the boat intensifies and the feather tent which ensconces it casts fleeting shadows onto the ceiling above. The work is intended to be a whimsical, immersive, gentle and yet powerful experience.

The work was first shown at Lighthouse in February 2013 and further showings are planned; the piece is currently untitled.

2 thoughts on “Biodata Installation

    • Thanks Jane! I’m hoping to show the work again so you may yet have the chance. These are pictures of the smaller boat from the earlier work, although the small boat is present in both. I’m just about to upload some images of the four foot long version.

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