The concept of information, with a musical starting point

{Genetic Information}


The inspiration for this installation is the music of Yiannis Christou, Mysterion, which refers to an Egyptian myth. But I regard life itself as a mystery. We are all alike, if not identical; the four bases of DNA (A = Adenine, T = Thymine, G = Guanine, C = Cytosine) exist in all of us, men and women, and while there are billions of us on this earth, it is these components which define our identity. This installation holds our genetic information.

Yiannis Christou

Yiannis Christou was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1926. From 1930-1938 he attended the English primary school of the city, and from 1938-1944 studied at the English school of Alexandria (Victoria College). He studied piano under the pianist Gina Bachauer. He then went on to complete his education at Cambridge, England, where he studied philosophy. At the same time he took courses in harmony, counterpoint and composition with Hans Ferdinand Rendlich, a pupil of Alban Berg. In 1956 he married poetess Theresia Horemi. In 1960 he settled permanently in Greece, and in 1970 was killed in a car accident while returning home from a birthday party. The car was being driven by his wife, who also died ten days later.

Some musical works: Phoenix Music, 6 songs based on poems by Eliot, Latin liturgy, Prometheus Bound, The Persians, the Frogs, The Lady with the Strychnine, Anaparastaseis, Enantiodromia.

Mysterion: (oratory composed using religious and mythological texts).

The original texts are carved on the walls of the tomb of the Pharaoh Seti I.

The action takes place in Hades (known in Egyptian as Tuat). A river flowed through Tuat (similar to the Nile) with inhabitants living on both its banks; the area was divided into twelve sections. Among them there passed in the night the god Ra (sun), passing down the river in his boat. When Ra finds himself in the underworld, the inhabitants crowd around the god’s craft seeking – by uttering the magic words of the Force – to save themselves from total extinction. But Ra succeeds in pronouncing the words correctly and thus they all return to the frozen inertia of death.