The Tannhäuser Gate
by Giorgio Sancristoforo
A genetic and nuclear installation for the European Commission Joint Research Centre’s
Resonances III festival: DATAMI
A collaboration between the artist and the JRC scientists:
•Valentina Paracchini, JRC Biochemistry and Genomics Unit
•Paolo Peerani, JRC Nuclear Security Unit
•Mauro Petrillo, JRC Knowledge for Health & Consumer Safety Unit
Exhibition designer: Cristina Fiordimela
Curated by: Freddy Paul Grunert
• JRC Ispra: October 14th 2019 – November 20th 2019
• Bozar Brussels: December 10th 2019 – January 20, 2020
…more in 2020/2021
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Roy Batty, Los Angeles, 2019
As you will walk through the Tannhäuser Gate you will change something of me.
You will transform me.
I invite you to do so.
This Gate contains my DNA, the coding regions of my genome.
The Gate uses this data as a programming language for sounds and lights,
using quaternary mathematics. I’ve called it the “phonosomic” code.
Can you hear me?
I am coded and encoded. I am flash and spirit, and now, digital code too.
At the bottom of these pillars there is a microscopic quantity of a sealed radioactive material (Sr-90) shielded with a metal screen.
When you will walk through the gate, the screens will rise and radiation will hit a geiger counter,
creating a direct interaction with my digitised genetic code.
After some time, radiations will mutate my DNA.
They will change my proteins, my enzymes, forming different chains of amino acids,
caused by transitions and transversions, deletion and frame shifting of the nucleotides.
Different codes will give birth to new sounds, new patterns of lights.
As you will walk through this Gate, you will change something of me.
And maybe your mind will change too.
This is an invitation to transformation.