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Pithos, 2016

Terracotta, synthetic DNA, 8-channel audio

Made in collaboration with Professor Volker Straub and Dr. Ana Topf, Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University. 

DNA to speech translation designed by Louise Mackenzie. 

Neural network translation software developed by Étienne de Crécy.


Pithos draws upon the symbolism of the Pandora myth to reconsider the biological object, constructed through scientific language, as a lively subject - a form that gives and receives, contains and spills out, with unpredictable results.  


An upturned pithos is formed from clay and synthetic DNA that contains the encoded phrase, ‘What will happen if I store this thought safe within you?’. The accompanying audio, generated by custom DNA to speech translation software spills out into the space predicting possible mutations in the original encoded phrase.

Pithos is the first work in the Pithos series, and has been presented at:

The Late Shows, BALTIC39, Newcastle

Evolution of the Subject, Gallery North Project Space, Newcastle

Pithos (one possible story of our lively material) Summerhall, Edinburgh

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