“Music of the Spheres” marries music and DNA molecules

Bathing in music sounds like something out the Prefects bathroom in Harry Potter – all together surreal, dreamy and like some kind of unimaginable witchcraft. That’s why, when I first read about Music of the Spheres, it took me a while to wrap my head around the concept. A collaboration between visual artist Charlotte Jarvis and British scientist Dr Nick Goldman, the installation project has taken a specially commissioned piece of music and stored it in synthetic DNA molecules.

The molecules have since been suspended in soap solution and the plan is to turn them into bubbles and have them fill a room, popping on the skin of those who visit the installation and thus bathing the room in music. The music, which is a three part piece by London-based Kreutzer Quartet, was recorded at the European Bioinformatics Institute, where all of Europe’s DNA sequencing information is stored.

The bubbles don’t actually play the music, but they do hold the ‘recording’ of the quartet. During the installations, a projection of the quartet will play play. When the bubbles are released, the music from the projection will stop and the bubbles, with the DNA of the omitted music, will instead fill the space. The team have already surpassed their £5,000 Kickstarter goal, which suggests that these installations are going to go ahead. Potential backer rewards were said to include a bottle of DNA-infused bubble bath solution, as well as paintings made from music encoded DNA that was blown onto paper.

Looks like I’m not going to be able to roll my eyes at people who say “music is in my DNA” for much longer. Damn.