Multitudes is an audiovisual installation that straddles the fields of biology, digitality and sculpture. 

Incorporating the monocellular algae Dinoflagella Pyrocystis Fusformis and a self-playing grand piano, physical stimulus from the latter serves to trigger a bioluminescent response from multitudes of microscopic organisms in the first movement. The mathematical basis of this musical composition – a collaboration between the artist and composer Tyler Friedman – is based on the growth curve of the algae’s replication cycle. Beginning with total darkness and silence, music and light patterns exponentially increase in complexity, intensity and frequency, until they reach maximum possible variations. Following this peak, the process ends with the complete extinction of sound and illumination, just as the algae’s capacity for natural light emission has been exhausted by overstimulation. 

Multitudes is a living sculpture, whose ‘performance’ engages the economic parameters of life and death as they relate to energy. The algae’s replication cycle, its capacity for action and ultimate exhaustion, is both visualised and physically engaged by the musical score of the automaton piano. Eventually, it is destroyed by this representation. 

Multitudes is curated by Anja Henckel and Nadim Samman and was first shown in their gallery Import Projects in Berlin, Germany.

Special thanks to the Natural History Museum of Kópavogur for keeping the algae well and healthy. 

The Embassy of the United States of America in Iceland supports Multitudes at Cycle Music and Art Festival.