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The Myrtle Rust story told thru science, art and music

  • - (AEST)
  • Powerhouse Museum
    500 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia

DNA sonification and Music

As a former musician who played drums with The Hummingbirds, Mark Temple (who is now at the School of Science at Western Sydney University) used computer code to make audio from DNA sequences (sonification). This was done by mapping genetic letters and overlapping DNA patterns into layers of computer-generated musical notes. Mark has sonified the DNA sequence of the Myrtle rust genome, and from this science data he will be making music. Myrtle rust is a plant pathogen causing devastation in Australian native plants along the east coast of Australia.

Mark has extended his science into the artistic space and is now treating the science audio as form of music. There will be a full ensemble performance of music to accompany the science audio, performed by the aptly named Biological Exploding DNA Sequence Inevitable featuring:

  • Mark Temple - Drums and Biological Sequences
  • Cameron Emerson Elliott - Guitar
  • Dr Michael Bain - Synthesiser
  • Paul Scott - Bass
  • Freya Schack-Arnott - Cello
  • Phillippa Murphy-Haste - Clarinet/Viola
  • Nick Calligeros - Trumpet

Media quotes

  • “this is just amazing” NPR
  • “beautiful and ethereal music” New Scientist
  • “as cool as it sounds” 3MBS Fine Music
  • “surprisingly lovely music” The Conversation

Also appearing will be Prof Julian Knowles who will talk and play examples of sonification of real-time weather data.

Event schedule

5:30 pm: Myrtle Rust Panel Discussion
6:00 pm: Julian Knowles: Sonification of weather data

6:30 pm: Mark Temple  DNA sonification and Music

Panel discussion

Artists from Boomalli Co-operative have painted their response to a call to protect Country from the devastating effects of Myrtle rust. These works will be represented in a video installation. The panel discussion is moderated by Clarence Slockee featuring artists Darren Charlwood and Wanita Lowe and scientist Dr Peri Tobias