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Biologist creates “living music” record and installation using yeast cells

 The Seoul-based scientist and artist Mikael Hwang, AKA Psients, says it's "the world’s first playable, living music media"

Biologist creates “living music” record and installation using yeast cells

Seoul-based scientist and artist Mikael Hwang, AKA Psients, has created a record of "living music" made with yeast cells.

The project formed part of a Psients' recent 'Signals' installation with spatial artist Jeffrey Kim. It is "a project at the intersection of biology, sound, and music," Hwang said on Instagram, "the first iteration of creating an instrument that is alive and also marks itself as the world’s first playable, living music media." 

Hwang said 'Signal' is "inspired by biology lab practices of culturing microorganisms in petri dishes and my persistent love for electronic music," via his website. The installation featured an obelisk at the centre with an object designed to look like a vinyl record and a petri dish. It was filled with yeast colonies, with more atop the record's grooves. These "bio-digital instruments" were then "sampled, processed, and manipulated."

The specially designed, playable vinyl is thicker than the standard 12-inch, and was pressed with yeast organisms housed inside the wax, according to Art Style. It was designed with the help of Bulgarian-based product development firm, SplinePro. 

A digital 'Signal' release is out now. The four-track EP features two ambient pieces from the exhibition, which premiered at the  Paradise Cultural Foundation exhibition in Seoul this past May, and two tracks focused on the dancefloor. 

"Clubs and dance floors are essential spaces for people to dance and enjoy music — that’s where my love of electronic music blossomed," Hwang told Art Style. "I want to evolve from these places to exhibitions or galleries where music and sound can take on a different role; where people can listen, think, and reflect on their environments, rather than react to the immediacy of spaces, such as a club."

Psients previously released the 'The Sun (Alex Young)' single with amu and MOON YIRANG in 2019 as part of the 'N.A.S.A.' compilation on his label textures

Listen to the 'Signal' EP, and watch a film of the installation.