Biological Narrative #7: Danaus (2008) is a live cinema performance of a digital video | biological/proteomic music hybrid whose platform is built upon electronic translations derived from the protein-based sun compass of the migratory North American Monarch Butterfly. The work is elementally derived from the genotypic origins of this navigational system in combination with the phenotypic expressions that are exerted to fulfill an annual multigenerational journey across the North American continent from Canada to Mexico and back. The Danaus species' navigational, locative/visual protein complex mediates the lifeform’s relationship to color wavelength, as well as terrestrial and biological time. In the live cinema performance, the sonic equivalents of these locative proteins, are developed into a multi-layered audio score derived from genetic sequences of the blue, ultraviolet, and long wavelength opsin proteins found in the vision system of Danaus plexippus.
This sonic work is joined with the visual and light pattern characterizations of this migration consisting of video field recordings, time-lapse documentation of the organism’s migratory path, and virtual reality of the butterfly’s microscopic anatomy. The resulting work bends the sensibilities of the Danaus species across multiple data scales to re-mediate the essential ties that all organisms have to journey, vulnerability and survival.
The performed version of the work brings the experimental hybridization of digital live cinema and performative bioinformatics into the form of “life cinema.” This subgenre of new media/digital cinematic performance builds upon the open-ended multimedia output of live cinema and the bending of biological computing, ecosemiotics and biomimicry to deliver speculative new media forms of ecological memory.
Field research, audio and video recording for this work was conducted along the North American migratory route of Danaus plexippus from the US into Mexico including the wintering grounds in the Mexican Sierra of Michoacan State. Specific concentration was upon the the WWF sanctioned reserves - Las Reservas de la Biosfera de la Mariposa Monarca: Sierra Chincua and El Rosario in Michoacan.
Project venues for this work:
FILE (Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletrônica) POA 2008, Santander Cultural, Porto Alegre, Brazil
ArtTechMedia Cordoba-0.8, International Forum Screen Program: Artificial Life, Cordova, Spain
ArtTechMedia 08, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
FILE (Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletrônica) RIO 2008, Oi Futuro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
FILE (Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletrônica) HIPERSÔNICA 2007, SESI Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil
ArtTechMedia 07, 1st Internacional Congress ArtTechMedia, Ministry of Culture, Madrid, Spain
“Thinking the Multiple”, Liebling Center for Film, Photography, and Video, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA
"Beauty and it's Discontents", University of Denver, Myhren Gallery, Denver, CO