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Science versus Art: The Music of Genes

  • - (AEST)
  • Meat Market
    3 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne NSW 3051, Australia

Dr Mark Temple is a molecular biologist from School of Science at Western Sydney University. Mark uses audio for DNA sequence analyses. As a former musician who played drums with Indie rock band The Hummingbirds, Mark used computer code to make audio sequences from DNA sequences. This was done by mapping genetic letters and overlapping DNA patterns into layers of computer-generated musical notes. 

At the Meat Market event, Mark will be making music from the DNA sequence of the Myrtle Rust genome. Myrtle rust is a plant pathogen causing devastation in Australian native plants along the east coast of Australia. 

Mark has extended his science ideas into the artistic space and is now treating the science audio as form of music. The music of DNA sequences can be repetitive, melodic, or chaotic depending on whether it's a gene sequence or another region of DNA being sonified.

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
  • Bridget Chappell - Cello
  • Dr Michael Bain
  • Paul Scott - Bass

Media quotes about the DNA sonification:

  • “this is just amazing” NPR 
  • “beautiful and ethereal music” New Scientist
  • “surprisingly lovely music” The Conversation

Also appearing will be Bridget Chappell. Bridget (aka Hextape) is an award-winning artist working across dance music, contemporary cello, hacked sound technology, ungovernable space, hydrology, and literature. Most recently their album '>:)' (Powertrip, 2022) explores the musicality of MRIs and received critical acclaim. 

Location Information

Meat Market is an iconic heritage listed building in Melbourne reimagined as a venue hire space for arts, culture and events.