... sed etiam si indusium sordidium intra os vasis, in quo sit triticum, comprimatur: intra paucos dies (puta 21) fermentum indusio haustum, et odore granorum mutatum, ipsum triticum, sua pelle incrustatum, in mures transmutat ...”
Jean Baptiste van Helmont

 

Imago Fermenti is a piece for two pianos that translates data from Miller-Urey experiment of 1953 into a musical score. In the famous experiment, the two scientists reached to create organic compounds (as amino acids) from inorganic ones (as CH4, NH3, H2O and H2), recreating the early Earth conditions.

My piece is made by three parts: 1) the insertion of the inorganic compounds into a flask of water (the boiling of water is simulated by an rhytmic ostinato); 2) the circulating of them into a kind of atmospheric turbulence with disaggregation and new aggregations; 3) the composition of organic compounds.

I work around the atomic number of elements involved in the experiment. In example, the atomic number of Hydrogen is One and One corresponds to the first note of the reference scale in equal temperament, C major. Then H = C and so on: the atomic number of O is the Eight and so O will be the octave of H/One (and it will play an higher C); C is Six and it will be the sixth of H/One, the A; N is Seven and it will be the B.

Established criteria to individuate notes, then, the four inorganic substances, written as chords or as simply melodic cellules, were circulated in the staves, from one piano to another. This is my version of the hypothesized “primordial soup”.
To reproduce the electric discharges used in the experiment to simulate atmospherical disturbances, I used some changing of dynamics. This linear “accidents” conduce to the disaggregation of the blocks of notes and to a new synthesis of them, toward the final result.

To the end, as it was a coda, or an invention around the same notes, I translate the formulas of the final organic compounds in many chords enchanted in a conclusive cadenza.

Imago Fermenti takes its name from a Jean Baptiste van Helmont book, talking about the aura vitalis. It is a simply and linear piece of music about abiogenesis, written in the correspondence between music and chemistry; a musical text that takes a look to the common aspects of chemical and harmonic aggregations (compounds as chords) understood as living structures that are defined in their own functions through reciprocal relations.

A-EYE: An exhibition of art and nature inspired computation
AISB50 – Celebrating 50 years of the AISB
1st – 4th April 2014, Goldsmiths, University of London

 

Angelo Airò Farulla was born on 1981, in island of Elba, Italy, where actually still lives and works. Together with the space designer Elena Fatichenti, he is a founding member of L’epimeteide, an Italian artists collective in the frame of which he works as director, performer and sound designer. For L’epimeteide he has composed music, soundtracks, sonic landscapes for theatre, performances and site specific installations. L’epimeteide was awarded, on 2008, the top prize at International Prize for Performance, Trent and, on 2009, the International Arte Laguna Prize - performance section, Venice. He also collaborates, as sound designer, with other artists (Diego Mazzaferro, Claus Pàtera and more) and he has realized music and soundtracks for dance, video works, cartoons, art exhibitions. In 2007 he was awarded the RAI radio “Crystal Microphone” prize. His musical research is about connections between concept, score and space.