dna

16 August, 2008 at 12:08 pm ()

As well as my Predator and Echolocation sound installations, I am also exhibiting some pieces that have previously been created for the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, in Surrey.  These compositions take as their starting point the dna and amino acid sequences of plants in that garden, and the two that I am going to use for Magic Hour are derived from the genetic data of the gunnera and bamboo plants.

The Gunnera composition takes its inspiration from the plant’s chloroplast gene (which converts sunlight into energy for growth).  Referencing the plant’s origin (the cloud forests of the Andes) the music makes use of a panpipe sound to play amino acid sequences connected with the leaves’ photosynthesis whilst being accompanied by a faster moving dan sequence highlighting the plants prickly surface.

The Bamboo composition is based on genetic data for the shape of the plant’s leaves (the Liguleless3 gene).  Using sounds created to sound like bamboo wood pieces hitting against each other, the music gives the illusion of a giant bamboo wind chime casually playing the plant’s dana, as if it was being blown by a gentle breeze.  (Interestingly, perhaps, no amino acid sequences were used in this particular composition as according to the genetic databases that I was using, scientists hadn’t yet published this aspect of the plant.  Thus, in a way, the composition also reflects the advances of science at this time).

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