Algae Opera by Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta



Artists Michiko Nitta and Michael Burton find the idea of a biotechnological fusion of man and nature fascinating. They funnel their curiosity into the exploration of future sources of food, currently focusing on algae, perhaps not the most popular subject in the field of nutrition. The Algae Opera is Nitta and Burton’s ode to the symbiotic relationship that they envision between humans and algae. The auditorium is filled with experimental sounds that alternate in timbre from threatening hisses to melodic songs, providing what the artists call ‘sonic food enhancement’. The message? What we eat when surrounded by elegant strains of music tastes sweet when compared with the bitterness on our tongues when we hear disgusting noises. In other words, sound influences our sense of taste. Wearing a dramatic ‘CO2 mask’, the star of the opera uses breath control to pump CO2 into algae-cultivation tanks connected to her headgear. As a result, we not only hear her vocal rendering but also taste it.

Photos Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta
Video BurtonNitta 2014

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