The music is in your blood - the art is in motion

is an installation that utilizes fractal music, blood probes and proximity sensors, and fractal architecture based on African settlements. the piece is an experiment in psychogeography: Is fractal organization, being adequate to describe many natural systems, any type of natural or preferred state for human social organization? In other words, left in a fractal space, listening to fractal music, will people arrange themselves into fractal patterns?

I. In his excellent book African Fractals, Ron Eglash shows a number of examples of fractals in African settlement architecture. The Spiral Lounge would be inspired by these kinds of spaces, for example the enclosures of the Ba-ila of Southern Zambia:

in this case, the large ring at the back would be the blood sensing area (more on that later). The large ring in front of it would be the bar, serving coffee and alcohol. surrounding the ring would be couches, booths, stools, etc. One of the purposes of this layout would be to study and document the various social patterns that emerge from it.

II. In the main area, there would also be position sensors mounted in a 3-dimensional 2-armed logartihmic spiral pattern, much like the milky way:

the movement of these arms would shift slightly to the left, then slightly to the right, mirroring the "ringshout", a traditional African-American dance in which people stand in a circle and shift in a spiral pattern first to the left, then to the right... this dance is thought to have come from ancient African groups, among them the Dogon, and mimics the movement of the Milky Way. In Egypt it was known as "The Dance of Nut, The Dance of the Stars". Nut was the goddess of the sky.

The sensors take position information and translate it into visuals that look something like this painting by Cory Ench:


As can be seen above, blood vessel trees are fractal. The second part of this project would take measurement from a volunteer, or from pre-existing blood samples (taken as guests enter -- a cover charge), using flow probes and agar.

After the blood flow is measured, the appropriate equations for determining the amount of self-similarity in blood flow are used for a compositional transform.

The mathematical measurements of the blood are mapped onto musical parameters to create a fractal music that should be somewhat pleasant.

Using a third fractal equation, some of the information from the position sensors is slowly merged with the blood samples of all those present. In this way, the visual and aural compositions are reflections of the social composition.


Further Viewing


-Trey Jackson March 2003