Stutterer is an instructional artwork - a poetry machine that uses the human genome like a music score to play back a self-assembling video montage spanning the thirteen years it took the Human Genome Project to complete the first documented human DNA sequence.
The four nucleotide bases of a DNA strand are represented by the letters T, A, G and C and Stutterer 'plays' (or will play - if it were to run continuously for more than sixty years) all 3.2 billion letters representing the human genome, where each letter becomes a word plucked by the artists from an English language television broadcast made sometime between 1990 and 2003.
Stutterer was started on Wednesday October 1st 2014 in the exhibition 'Scales of Life' with approximately 500 video clips in its library, but this will be extended by the artists in the coming years, so that each time the work is exhibited there will be an increasing number of video elements to draw upon, offering an ever richer glimpse into a period in history that begins in 1990 with the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in South Africa and concludes with the fall of Baghdad to a US and British military coalition in 2003.
Stutterer is a human monument of sorts, which seeks to connect our biological fabric with our unique linguistic abilities - the very abilities, which have arguably enabled us to apprehend our own DNA in the first place.
The work was commissioned for LifeSpace Science Art Research Gallery with the collaboration of The Barton Group and supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award.
Two channel digital installation
Software development by Matt Jarvis
Thomson & Craighead, 2014