The sounds in sLowlife were created by John Gibson, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Music and Assistant Director, Center for Electronic and Computer Music, Indiana University. The sounds are an auditory analog of the slow changes in the lives of plants. The sounds unfold in a gently irregular way, forming a background for the visual images. As you move through the exhibition, the different sounds overlap and blend.
The sound textures were constructed using data from the plant studies on which this exhibition is based. Custom software was used to transform this data into music. For example, the changing measurements of seedling curvature became the irregular rhythms of bell notes. The fluctuating amount of light transmitted through leaves, caused by chloroplasts moving in the cells, became the degree to which notes in a chord were made to sound out of tune. The elongation rates of plant stems exposed to bright blue light became the rhythm and melody of guitar notes.
To hear the complete sound tracks and a concert version of the sounds of sLowlife, check out John Gibson's web site.
Data for sounds were provided by:
Craig Whippo (tropism curvature data) & Darron Luesse (light transmittance of leaves), Indiana University
Nathan Miller, Brian Parks, and Edgar Spalding (stem elongation rate measurements), University of Wisconsin
Patrice Salome and C. Robertson McClung (circadian changes in gene expression), Dartmouth College