cytoDoptera (2008) is a speculative sonic investigation into the multi-scale interactions among the bioenergetic mechanisms of the North American Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus), migratory flight and the ecological pressures of predation and climate that collide and coexist in the life cycles and journeys of this charismatic endangered species.
The central sonic elements of the work are translated from the respiratory/electron transport proteins of the Danaus species. These bioenergetic molecules enable the essential existence of the organism that flow through its’ four metamorphic stages from egg, to larval caterpillar, to pupa and then onto flight as an adult butterfly. These audio translations are conducted by electronically converting the amino acid/bioinformatic/proteomic sequences to equivalent MIDI sequences. This sonic platform is performatively mixed in the work with audio translated from the signal proteins for wing development in the organism and with the sampled sounds of environmental wind patterns and the bioacoustic samples of the Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus), one of the sole avian predators of Danaus plexippus. Percussive breaks in the work are performed using traditional indigenous strung rattles constructed from collected Lepidoptera cocoons.