The sound installation takes its inspiration from the genetic makeup of four of the plants located around the ‘Oriental Pond’ in the
Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden.
In order to create each piece, I first had to gather the available data from various scientific databases and then do more research to
ascertain the significance of what I had gathered. Where there was a lot of data available I chose genetic information that was
linked with a plant’s photosynthesis apparatus, i.e., that part of the plant which converts sunlight into growing energy.
In order to turn my genetic data into music I began with the DNA of my chosen gene. From the four elements that make up the DNA
chain I was then able to work with the corresponding amino acid sequence, as the DNA groups itself into triplets that each code for an
amino acid. Both of these elements can be heard in the compositions: the ‘faster’ DNA and the ‘slower’ amino acids.
As for the notes themselves, I first ordered the amino acids according to their molecular weight, and then gave the heavier ones lower
notes and the lighter ones higher pitches. Then, I assigned those notes to different musical scales according to each plant’s
country of origin. As far as the actual sound of the pieces is concerned, I created instruments inspired by each country’s
indigenous instruments or from a particular aspect of the plant itself.
With this basic information I was then in a position to begin my composing. Whilst I have tried to stay ‘true’ to the data that
I collected for each piece, my main concern has been to bring out the musicality hidden within the different genetic
structures. Thus the compositions are not strict translations of the genetic codes, but more interpretative in
nature. Nevertheless, for me, I think that something of each of the plant’s personalities still shine through and provide an
interesting connection to the hidden but ever present micro-world of genetic activity and perhaps the underlying processes of life itself.
A weblog diary written during the creation of the piece can be found at