DNA-based Sound / Performance (2015)

Paternity + Paternity:
Cultural representation of data

There is a paradox in the notion that scientific development can rehabilitate the idea of God.

Tpox/Toque is participatory talk/sound performance that is an open conversation with the audience as well as a live concert. The piece explores the boundaries between art, science and religious beliefs and it happens in two parts. The first part is a talk/discussion on concepts given by a set of guests: a geneticist, a Yoruba priest, a musician, a philosopher and myself. The second part consists of three musicians performing given scientific data -my family ́s DNA locus HTPOX- following the rules of ceremonial Yoruba drumming (batás).

Tpox/Toque plays with the idea of the supposed existence of meaning coded at a biological level to, ultimately, establish interpretation as a personal responsibility. The project is not a single piece but an ongoing research project on the nature of perception, consensual reality and the construction of meaning. The symbolic operations implemented in Tpox/Toque are based on the sequential re-framing of given data through the manipulation of its conventional framework: by changing the framework of its representation, the same data gets reformulated again and again, leading to different and usually contradicting interpretations.

The project addresses the concept of “paternity” sequentially presenting the artist´s DNA Locus HUMTPOX (Human Thyroid Peroxidase gene used in forensic paternity tests) as scientific data, religious Afro Cuban objects and then ceremonial music. These multiple "translations" —from religion (sacred literature) to science (DNA sequencing) to art (sculptural objects and music) and back to religion (ceremonial rules)— seek to question our understanding and acceptance of the notion of “Truth". The operation is a literal translation without interpretation, a process where every contextual fact exists as a cultural event moving at the intersection of art, science and religion.

The objective of Tpox / Toque is to shock the viewer with the absurdity of its operations, to establish that Absolutes only exist in the realm of ideology.