Biological Narrative #7: Danaus (2008) is a live cinema performance of a digital video | biological/proteomic music hybrid whose platform is built upon electronic translations derived from the protein-based sun compass of the migratory North American Monarch Butterfly. The work is elementally derived from the genotypic origins of this navigational system in combination with the phenotypic expressions that are exerted to fulfill an annual multigenerational journey across the North American continent from Canada to Mexico and back. The Danaus species' navigational, locative/visual protein complex mediates the lifeform’s relationship to color wavelength, as well as terrestrial and biological time. In the live cinema performance, the sonic equivalents of these locative proteins, are developed into a multi-layered audio score derived from genetic sequences of the blue, ultraviolet, and long wavelength opsin proteins found in the vision system of Danaus plexipus.
This sonic work is joined with the visual and light pattern characterizations of this migration consisting of video field recordings, time-lapse documentation of the organism’s migratory path, and virtual reality of the butterfly’s microscopic anatomy. The resulting work bends the sensibilities of the Danaus specie across multiple data scales to re-mediate the essential ties that all organisms have to journey, vulnerability and survival.
The performed version of the work brings the experimental hybridization of digital live cinema and performative bioinformatics into the form of “life cinema.” This subgenre of new media/digital cinematic performance builds upon the open-ended multimedia output of live cinema and the bending of biological computing, ecosemiotics and biomimicry to deliver speculative new media forms of ecological memory.