A Code
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Medium: Multimedia video

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My work deals with the microcosmic scale of reality — with particles, DNA and the workings of the human body. When DNA was discovered, it was noticed that it “could store information in the form of a four-character digital code” (Meyer, 2021:165). This code, according to Crick (one of the scientists who discovered DNA), “functions just as letters in a written text or digital characters” (ibid., 2021:166). A Code is a hyper-slow-motion video of a vibrating string and an abstract representation of a DNA strand.

I chose to film the string of a Koto, a long Japanese stringed instrument, due to the length and thickness of its strings and the deep resonance it produces. Superimposed over the video is a code outputted by a program I wrote in Python that creates a random sequence of the letters TACG — symbols representing molecules found in the DNA language (NHGRI, 2022). A spectrogram — a moving visualization of audio — scrolls in the background.

The Python code I wrote

I created the spectogram by converting my spoken voice into a visual using the software Audacity. The other image that scrolls in the backgound I created using an AI called MidJourney (I own the copyright to the image). Because AI is a coded intelligence, I used it to refrence the encoded nature of reality in this work.

The beginning of the video is a stop motion animation with chalk drawings of DNA molecular characaters on a piece of slate, and the end of the video is an animation of DNA growing like roots into a rock created in the 3D software Blender. I justaposed the vibrating string with DNA strands to explicate the conceptual narrative of the video: A voice produces sound waves; the vibratory motion of a string is a wave; DNA strands have harmonic dynamics in a viscous medium and resemble a wave under a microscope. Could a voice have spoken this information, this code, into existence?

DNA strand imaged under an electron microscope
Image By: Enzo di Fabrizio (Pease, 2012).
DNA strand (left) looks remarkably similar to the rarefaction and compression of a sound wave (above).


Meyer, S. 2021. Return of the God hypothesis: three discoveries that reveal the mind behind the universe. New York, United States of America: HarperOne.

Pease, R. 2012. Dna imaged with an electron microscope for the first time. Available: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22545-dna-imaged-with-electron-microscope-for-the-first-time/ [Novemeber 15, 2022].

Georghiou, S., Shih, C.C. 2000. Harmonic analysis of DNA dynamics in a viscous medium. J Biomol Struct Dyn. 17(5):921-932