A UK-based art-science team is poised to change the way we think about data storage with its new project, Music of the Spheres.
A UK-based art-science team is poised to change the way we think about data storage with its new project, Music of the Spheres. Employing bioinformatics technology, the collaboration encodes music onto strands of DNA suspended in soap solution. While recording music on soap bubbles may seem fantastical, the venture suggests the potential for vast storage space at the molecular level at a time when big data weighs heavy on the minds of companies and consumers alike.
Music of the Spheres matches British visual artist Charlotte Jarvis with British scientist Nick Goldman from the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom. Goldman’s team uses DNA digital data storage to imprint an MP3 musical recording by the UK-based Kreutzer Quartet onto a string of synthetic DNA, encoding them into A, C, T and G molecules much like how computer code is written using ones and zeroes. This is then injected into soap solution, which Jarvis uses to transform the “music” into bubbles that release into the air at artistic performances and installations.
Linking data with artistic expression is a growing phenomenon that we spotted in our “Tech-tacular” trend in the 2015 J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Future 100 report. Music of the Spheres takes a postmodern twist as the bubbles descend upon the crowd and pop on contact. The music, however, goes unheard: the MP3 recording is hidden deep in the soap’s molecular structure.
Manipulating matter at the tiniest scale holds vast potential: DNA digital data storage techniques can store 2 million gigabytes of data in just one string of DNA, equivalent to twice the storage available in a single human brain. In a world where brands and consumers are generating increasing amounts of information, techniques for storing it in biological materials may one day move from art and fantasy to technological reality.]