Some of the most complex secrets of life as we know it will be transformed into a dazzling display of sights and sounds at the 2018 Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival.

The effect of drug-resistant pathogens on DNA proteins, the brain’s reactions during epileptic seizures and the political debates around mental health will all receive ground-breaking treatment to create astounding new performances.

Endangered crocodiles in India, Africa’s iconic tree of life – the Baobab, the seagulls which populate Britain’s coastlines, and the search for extra-terrestrial life will also be re-imagined for the 12th staging of the annual event.

There will also be a gala concert which will see researchers working alongside world-renowned percussion group, Ensemble Bash.

With the theme of Decoding Life, the 2018 festival – presented by Peninsula Arts in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music (ICCMR) at the University of Plymouth – will be staged over three days in March.

Directed by Eduardo Reck Miranda, Professor in Computer Music and Director of the ICCMR, it will aim to build on its existing national reputation for combining artistic creativity with scientific development. He said:

“Continued advances in computing have given us the ability to blur the boundaries between art and science. And as the technology continues to develop, we are using it to generate new ways of thinking about our lives and the natural world around us. This festival will offer audiences an incredible insight into that fusion, and I hope it will inspire them to see what is happening around us in a new and exciting way.”

The three-day festival will open on Friday 02 March with a launch event and lecture by Dr Markus Schmidt, the director of Austrian company Biofaction, which is conducting research into emerging biotechnologies, art and science collaboration and public science communication.

Highlights from the remainder of the weekend will include:

  • Artibiotics is Eduardo Miranda’s musification of the DNA codes of synthetic proteins and portrays experiments to defeat a mutating drug-resistant pathogen;
  • Reptile Rhythms, by Dr Duncan Williams, takes the audience on a journey to encounter the mysterious music of the endangered gharial crocodiles;
  • Queen Canute is the latest work by Nuria Bonet Filella, and explores the musical structures that can be found in animal behaviour through a duet for clarinet and seagulls;
  • Algoshorts 2018 – The second edition of a festival of short fiction films on the topic of algorithms will include the first screening of Dr Alexis Kirke’s Decode Here, a film about the potential effects of online political populism on mental health;
  • Resounding Seizures, created by masters student Alan D Miles, attempts to record electrical brain signals and use them to capture and explore the experiences of epilepsy.

ICCMR’s mission is to gain a better understanding of human biology and cognition from a musical perspective, and then use this understanding to improve the lives of those affected by conditions including Alzheimer’s Disease and Locked-In Syndrome.

The Peninsula Arts Contemporary Musical Festival

Now in its 12th year, the annual event has a reputation for taking academic research and giving it a series of unexpected twists

Find out more about the 2018 festival

Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR)

Cutting-edge research in topics including the interface between music, computers, and the brain within a vibrant contemporary music community.

Access our well-equipped studios, open plan lab and annual research seminar series.

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