spray paint on PVC pipes and fittings, two loudspeakers, sound recording (5’ 43’’), soil, pea plant P. Sativum,
Size: 2,2 × 13.5 × 11,7 m
Photos © Pascal Mächteln
A pea plant grows out of a gray plastic pipe. Pipes unfold in a series of right-angles, either ending loosely in the room or disappearing into the walls. Slow, plucked notes crawl out of the sculpture and meet the observer in the room.
From the sequenced genome of this plant species, freely available for download off the internet, the nucleic acids of 14 randomly chosen genes are translated into a musical notation based on rules and chance operations. The resulting 14 scores (number based on the chromosomes of the plant) are played by a cello and reproduced through a loudspeaker placed in one of the tubes of the installation. At 37,7% of its height, the sculpture sharply turns orange: this value reflects the percentage of the genome which is understood to have a genetic function for the life of the pea; the rest has an epigenetic, still unclear, role.
Scores are available for download here