“ACGT” is a 8-channel sound installation piece by artist duo Siedl/Cao.


Three ways of reciting the human DNA

This work is a triptych consists of 3 different ways to recite human genome – the first lines of Chromosome 1. It’s a meditation on the human existence in relation to code-based artificial beings. Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence are challenging the very definition of what it means to be a human.

The first layer consists of two parallel voices, generated by algorithms. One is a vocal interpretation of the human genome sequence. The second voice intonates the codes in tonal pitches. Each sound event is placed in different virtual acoustic spaces, each designed with different depth, height and width.

The second layer consists of 2 real human voices – 1 man and 1 woman, alternately whispering the human genome sequence, which has been reorganized by an algorithm. Who redefines who?

The third layer shows how the artificial intelligence makes words and musical sense out of human genome sequence.

The first layer is spatialized using 6 surround speakers. The other two layers are heard at very low volume through 2 mono-speakers at two different positions, that will be decided by us according to the given space. They are covered by black or white cloth. The listener has to “zoom” in and out, by approaching these speakers at a distance of 5-10cm, to unfold other layers of reality coming from the covered speakers.

This sound installation is designed for audience interaction and participation. It also works as a looping self-running installation. Once the listener enters the room, what they mostly hear is from the 6 channels surround system. The listener while exploring the room, will discover the other layers from 2 hidden mono speakers.

An excerpt from a live performance version with audience participation, at Manzi Hanoi December 2018