SYNTHetic Biology — A Tribute to Greg Bear’s Blood Music

A musical ecosystem  driven by and reacting to the movement of living biological organisms. The bio-SYNTH can take input from a realtime USB microscope or utilize captured video (as in this case).

Bacteria are tracked and elements such as size, age, velocity, and positions relative to the screen and each other are fed as seed values into a granular synthesizer. Waves are altered and samples are triggered according to an editable rule set.

Samples from the Mercury and Apollo space program, Sputnik, and science fiction films were inspired by Greg Bear’s 1985 Nebula and Hugo award winning novel Blood Music, and suggest the movements of the quickly evolving "noocytes" as they begin to explore their god-like host being Vergil Ulam.

The installation premiered at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA on September 18, 2014 and part of the After Hours PEM PM Series.