He’s a biomedical researcher, a traveling artist, and he created the first living record.
Indeed, Mikael Hwang is a man of many talents, and his taste for the arts and sciences are inextricably linked. Released via Universal Music, Hwang’s recent album Signal EP and accompanying art installation demonstrated that even microscopic multicellular organisms – in this case, yeast cells – are capable of producing music.
Presented at the 2022 Paradise Art Lab Festival in South Korea, the “Signal” installation was partly intended to show viewers that the future of music may well be organic.
A special hybrid Petri dish and recording setup has been embedded in an obelisk in the center of the exhibit. Inside was a proprietary substance that facilitated the capture of yeast cell vibrations, allowing them to be effectively transmitted as playable audio.
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“Music, of course, is the focus, but creating a space for people to experience what it could be like, and what the future of music could be if it were organic, that’s what I ultimately wanted to pass on with this work,” Hwang said in a statement.
With the intention of creating an instrument that is fully alive down the line, Hwang continues to be eager to explore what he sees as a paradigm shift in the relationship between biology, culture and the arts.
“In the future, culture, whether in the form of music, text or moving images, is likely to be the battleground for countercultural propaganda and narratives,” Hwang added. “”Signal”, et al., will hopefully invite discussion and timely scrutiny, preparing us with language that can help us express and understand the new relationships and definitions we will have with life. “