Music and E. Coli Bacteria.
GeneMusiK is an experimental biological music mixing and generating system currently under development by Dr Nigel Helyer at the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Western Australia under the aegis of ‘SymbioticA’.
The GeneMusiK project is designed to establish a functional relationship between conventional Western musical scales and DNA sequences and produce a system for mixing and mutating musical form within a biological context. Whilst there have been several interesting attempts to transliterate DNA code into musical forms and notation these have invariably been theoretical analogues
GeneMusik departs from previous experiments in that it is an entirely ‘wet’ process, which employs chemical and biological means to achieve musical transformations. Rather than taking given DNA structures and rendering them as musical code, GeneMusik takes fragments of conventional Western melody and sequences them as DNA that is subsequently ‘bred’ and ‘mixed’ within bacterial cultures. DNA extracted from these cultures may then be re-sequenced, translated to musical notation and interpreted as new musical forms.
It is anticipated that the first public manifestation of GeneMusiK will be a series of elegant body adornments that contain ‘musicalised’ synthetic DNA sequences. Each item will be accompanied by, a certificate of authenticity and an audio CD of the musical sequence
Subsequent editions are envisioned that will contain DNA sequences hybridised within bacterial cultures, together with installations of living ‘musical low-life’.
GeneMusik may be exhibited as a series of miniature static objects (i.e. body adornments) accompanied by photographic panels (laboratory process and notational materials) together with audio recordings of the DNA translations.
The small objects require a museum case equipped with small 12volt pin-spot system. The Photo-panels are designed to wall-mount. The Audio material requires a good quality Audio CD player + Amplifier equipped with high quality speakers. If desired this section can be designed to play only when a visitor is present (sensor switched).
© Dr Nigel Helyer 2002.