[ISEA2020] Artist Statement: Ian M. Clothier & Josiah Jordan — DNA whakapapa

Artist Statement

Tags: Data-Based Art, DNA, Interactive Art

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’sDNA 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.


  • Ian M Clothier is an artist, curator, Director of Creative Research at Intercreate Research Centre; a part time Senior Academic at Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki; founding Director of Water, Peace, Power 2016 and 2018 at Parihaka Pa; and co-founding Director of SCANZ (Solar Circuit Aotearoa New Zealand) with Trudy Lane, Adam Hyde, and Nina Czegledy. They are an eighth-generation descendant of the culture of Hitiaurevareva, commonly called Pitcairn Island and now referred to as Pitkern-Norf’k culture. Their DNA traces through Te Wai Pounamu (South Island, Aotearoa New Zealand), Norfolk Island, Pitcairn Island, Tahiti and Polynesian culture; while other lines trace back through the Isle of Man, England, the Shetland Islands and Nordic countries. Public exhibitions extend to one hundred and seven in fifteen countries, along with twenty-seven publication credits. This includes selection for six ISEA exhibitions, and publication in Leonardo, Convergence and Digital Creativity.
  • Josiah Jordan, NZ, linkedin.com/in/josiah-jordan-4646173/?originalSubdomain=nz