“DNA whakapapa” by Ian M. Clothier, Josiah Jordan

  • ©, Ian M. Clothier and Josiah Jordan, DNA whakapapa


    DNA whakapapa

Artist(s) and People Involved:



    DNA data to generate audio and video artwork



Artist Statement:

    The project DNA whakapapa uses Clothier’s DNA data to generate audio; the audio then generates video animation. The DNA data was sourced from Ancestry.com and the video-audio art work is a collaboration with Josiah Jordan. Whakapapa means genealogy/lineage in Māori.

    Here is how Josiah Jordan explained the relationship between Clothier’s DNA and audio for parts of the soundtrack: “Chromosomes 1 to 3 drive the synthesizer, bass guitar and percussive elements that lead the track… The first notes of strong synthesizer (near the 2-minute mark) belong to Chromosome 1… The X and Y Chromosomes are the flute and lightly plucked string elements… Around the 3:20 mark begins the other synthesizers…high synth, bass and bells, all played by the same Chromosome 12… in a way stitching together past and future.”

    This project follows a long series of video-audio works utilizing data. In terms of generating video, color and form decisions were directed towards a biological, organic feel and a rainbow look in respect to Clothier’s non-binary gender fluid nature. As a hybrid Polynesian, whakapapa, DNA and ancestors are one and the same thing. So this project unites Polynesian heritage with Western science in an intimately personal and familial way.