Hunter Cole is an internationally shown artist and an experienced geneticist. She
reinterprets science as art through the creation of living artworks, abstractions,
digital art and installations confronting issues related to biotechnology in our
culture. Cole holds a Ph.D. and Master’s degree in Genetics from the University of
Wisconsin—Madison, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of California—Berkeley.
Cole teaches both biology and art at Loyola University Chicago.
Duration: 9 min. 42 sec.
Incandescence is the emission of visible light by a hot object. Chemiluminescence
is a cool light created by a chemical reaction. Bioluminescence is light created
by a chemical reaction happening in a living organism. The lux genes make proteins
that play roles in bioluminescence in certain bacteria. A midi file was created from
the protein sequences of luxA, luxB, luxC, luxD, luxE, luxF, and luxG using the Bio2MIDI
program. In the Bio2MIDI program a different note is assigned to each of the twenty
different amino acids found in proteins. In Bio2MIDI the tempo and type of scale
used can be specified. The midi file generated from the Bio2MIDI program was imported
into GarageBand into three tracks. Each track is played with a different instrument
including Aquatic Sunbeam, Shimmering Flute, and Lunar Strings. The volume of the
Aquatic Sunbeam track is played at a constant level while the volume of the Shimmering
Flute and the Lunar Strings tracks varies throughout the composition. Bio2MIDI is
available as a free download through the Algorithmic Arts website. GarageBand is
a Macintosh program included in iLife. Bioluminescence is a musical composition including
luxA, luxB, luxC, luxD, luxE, luxF, and luxG protein sequences. A shorter variation
of this musical composition including luxA, luxB, luxC, luxD, and luxE protein sequences
was created as the musical score for the Living Drawings movie. Living Drawings depict
the cycle of life and death calling attention to our own mortality. Hunter Cole creates
controlled line drawings using bioluminescent bacteria. The bacteria then grow on
Petri dishes. The bacteria grow, first appearing with bright light, then dim and
gradually die off as available nutrients are depleted. Bacteria are photographed
using a time-lapse technique over a two-week period. Bacteria become collaborators
in the art as it grows and dies. The bacteria contribute to the story in the art.