Artibiotics: An Artificial Biology Musical Experiment
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Artibiotics is the title of an experimental musical composition for percussion ensemble and electronics. It articulates the development of Artificial Biology, which is a new concept that the author conceived in 2017, during a residency at Wagner Lab, in the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Regensburg, in collaboration with Biofaction, Vienna. Essentially, Wagner Lab is unravelling the structure and function of naturally occurring antibiotics with a view on engineering new kinds of synthetic antibiotics. In a nutshell, their research involves shuffling the DNA code of known antibiotics, synthesise the new molecules and test them in vivo against specific kinds of bacteria.
This chapter introduces a Code Biology approach to bridge the worlds of genetics and music. Computing systems for synthesising novel proteins and generative music software rely on the processing of codes representing the realms of genetics and music, respectively. Notwithstanding the significant role played by the laws of biochemistry, it is generally accepted nowadays that the rules of genetic coding are to some extent arbitrary. In a similar vein, despite substantial constraints imposed by the laws of auditory perception and cultural processes, the rules of music are indeed arbitrary.
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