Of memory, legacies and mating

During a break between the presentations, I had a very insightful  discussion with the attendees. So far, It looks like most of this festival has focused on non-literal notions of  immortality, that is, on those instances of immortality that concern leaving a trace of ourselves on this world, rather than extending our lives.

It is as if we were all collectively trying to figure out the legacy of the human race for the far future generations (the Amber Archive), to reach out and signal our presence for our potential neighbors in other planets and galaxies (Tweets in Space) or to be remembered and appreciated by our peers here and now in this world (DNA mating Call).

Still, someone asked: ” but don’t you want to extend your life and live forever?” well, I don’t think that conceptually there is much difference between leaving a trace and living forever. As I mentioned before, you can use the most advanced technologies  to extend your physical existence, and still not find any scope for your existence. Yet, the divide between those who advocate one idea or the other is very palpable.

This is a philosophical question and a conceptual  gap that we will not be able to answer either during this festival or in the future.

I have already talked about the Amber Archive, but it is worth mentioning two other projects that were featured in the morning of the Symposium: DNA Mating call, and Tweets in Space. While very different from each other, their focus on outreach and conceptual tendency to project the human existence externally is quite similar.

the project DNA Mating Call by Atanas Bozdarov and Johny Bozdarov  focuses  on translating into music the portion of our DNA called HLA-B sequence. HLA is involved in the human immune response in the process of mating. If we consider this from an evolutionary perspective, individual immune responses  influence mating to avoid the recursion of diseases or genetic mismatches.

each  A G C T sequence resulting from the scientific analysis of HLA is different for each individual and can be associated to a note (or to tempo, in the case of T).  The result is a music sequence, a personalized  mating call.