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Wow! One very generous backer has decided to take up Charlotte’s offer of creating a bespoke, on-site DNA/ink installation and given our funding an amazing boost!
The costs of our upcoming Dilston Grove show are multiplying as are the foreseeable costs of further exhibitions and we are extremely grateful to be able to cover these thanks to this pledge.
So, a a big, big thank you to OPM Recruitment for their invaluable support!
NEW STRETCH GOAL OF £10,000!
The response to the project has been so encouraging that we’ve decided to add a stretch goal: the creation of a catalogue documenting the project and the exhibitions. Under the artistic direction of Charlotte Jarvis, the catalogue will feature some of the redacted correspondence from the exhibition, photographs, insights into the implications of DNA data storage technology and more.
Everyone who has helped fund Music of the Spheres will receive a catalogue if we reach our new goal!
Thanks to the enthusiastic support of our many backers, we managed to beat our initial funding goal! So to all our supporters, a heartfelt thank you from the Music of the Spheres team!
The first piece of news we’d like to share is that our exhibition at Dilston Grove is confirmed! It will open on 13 June 2015. We welcome you to come down and experience the installation for yourselves within this stunning venue. All details can be found here.
PLUS we have some new rewards! A small group meet & greet and guided tour with the artist at Dilston Grove and high-quality photographic prints of the EBI server rooms.
Many thanks to everyone and keep watching this space for further news!
Music of the Spheres is a cross-disciplinary art project inspired by the possibilities of the new bioinformatics technology developed by Dr. Nick Goldman. Visual artist Charlotte Jarvis commissioned music from the Kreutzer Quartet, the recording of which has been encoded into DNA. The DNA was then suspended in soap solution and will be used by Charlotte to create performances and installations filled with bubbles. The ‘recording’ will fill the air, pop on visitors’ skin and literally bathe the audience in music.
HOW THE PROJECT CAME ABOUTNick was having a post-work pint with some colleagues and discussing the problems of storing huge amounts of experimental data for long periods. The conversation went something like this:
“What we need”, he said, ”is a medium that encodes information, can last for thousands of years, and will never become technologically redundant… Hold on a minute” - (we like to imagine that Nick’s eyes glaze over at this point) - “This already exists!”
Nick and his colleagues went on to develop a method of storing digital information in synthetic DNA molecules. Nick’s method mimics how computers store information digitally in binary but swaps 0s and 1s for the ‘base chemicals’ (A, C, T and G) that form DNA sequences.
Meanwhile, in a bath on the Suffolk border, artist Charlotte Jarvis was having her own ‘eureka moment’, reading an email from Dr Nick Goldman (introduced above, but who she was yet to meet). Charlotte had been exhibiting a project where she encoded basic sentences in the DNA of bacteria. Nick had seen this, so he was writing to her about his own new technology.
And thus unlikely collaborations are born…
Meanwhile, Charlotte had enlisted the help of Artists & Engineers, a small and highly talented production outfit who happen to specialise in interdisciplinary projects across the arts and technology! Everything was falling into place.
Nick and Charlotte went on to develop the project Music of the Spheres in which a new musical composition is recorded to MP3 and stored on synthetic DNA molecules.
COMPOSING THE MUSIC - INTRODUCING THE KREUTZER QUARTET
In the poem Music of the Spheres Byron describes a universal melody underpinning all existence. Nick and Charlotte saw parity between this and the concept of DNA being a universal code underscoring all of life, so wanted to make music a part of the project.
In a rather audacious move, Charlotte invited the critically acclaimed Kreutzer Quartet round for dinner in order to explain the project. One of the most sought-after string quartets in the UK, the Kreutzers are known for their eclectic programme, numerous recordings, regular appearances at major venues around the world and (most importantly) their willingness to collaborate on more ‘unconventional’ projects.
To everyone’s delight the Kreutzer Quartet accepted both the invitation to dinner and to become part of the project.
A few months later, the Kreutzers wrote a specifically commissioned new composition. This loosely follows the traditional form of a concerto, comprising three musical movements. The second movement only exists in the form of a recording encoded into DNA.
BUT WHAT HAS THIS GOT TO DO WITH BUBBLES?
Our goal is to create installations and performances in which the DNA will be suspended in soap solution and used to create silent spaces filled with bubbles. Just as music fills the air, so will the bubbles – popping on visitors' skin and literally bathing them in music. The bubbles will be accompanied by a video projection showing the musicians playing in the server room of the European Bioinformatics Institute (where Nick has done his research).
In these performances the Kreutzer Quartet will play the composition, falling silent during the second movement. The omitted music will be released into the auditorium in the form of bubbles. The performances will be accompanied by a film projection and a discussion about the project.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
Thanks to some incredible sponsorship from Agilent Technologies, we have so far been able to commission the piece and have the second movement recorded onto synthetic DNA molecules. But what we really want to do is share it with people!
The money raised from this Kickstarter (if the funding goal is achieved) will go towards putting on live performances, installations and workshops around the UK. It will also go towards making a series of objects to get our musical DNA out there in the wider world. We want to take the project out of the lab and studio and share it with the public.
SO EXACTLY WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING TO DO WITH THE MONEY?
We would like to put on three very different installations. The first will be at the incredible Dilston Grove in Southwark Park - a Grade II Listed building providing a cavernous raw space for large-scale installations and performance. The second is at The Lookout – a gallery situated directly on the beach in Aldeburgh with a small tower perfect for pumping bubbles out of to drift along the shoreline. The final installation will be at the European Bioinformatics Institute, allowing us to take the project ‘home’ and show it to the scientific community.
In addition to the installations we would like to stage a series of live performances with the Kreutzer Quartet at Dilston Grove, the European Bioinformatics Institute and additionally Wilton’s Music Hall.
The objects we plan to make to reward our wonderful patrons are another way of getting the project out there. As rewards we’ll be creating specially designed bottles of bubbles including the musical DNA and also producing ‘DNA paintings’ made by adding ink to the DNA bubble solution.
Risks and challenges
We believe there are very few risks and challenges involved since we have already created the piece.
The amazing Kreutzer Quartet have composed the music and the installation with its machinery has been tried and tested at our first small exhibition. We are now poised to bring the installation and musical performances to a wider audience, adding an educational component to the exhibition with workshops for children and university students.
With your help we could make it happen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)