This article presents a musical interface that enables the sonification of data from the human microbiota, the trillions of microorganisms that inhabit the human body, into sound and music. The project is concerned with public engagement in science, particularly the life sciences, and developing cultivation technologies that take advantage of the ubiquitous and accessible nature of the human microbiota. In this article we examine the collaboration between team members proficient in musical composition and those with expertise in biology, sonification, and data visualization, producing an individualized piece of music designed to capture basic biological data and user attention. Although this system, called Biota Beats, sonifies ubiquitous data for educational science projects, it also establishes a connection between individuals and their bodies and between a community and its context through interactive music experiences, while attempting to make the science of the human microbiome more accessible. The science behind standardizing sonified data for scientific, human analysis is still in development (in comparison to charts, graphs, spectrograms, or other types of data visualization). So a more artistic approach, using the framework of musical genres and their associated themes and motifs, is a convenient and previously established way to capitalize on how people naturally perceive sound. Further, to forge a creative connection between the human microbiota and the music genre, a philosophical shift is necessary, that of viewing the human body and the digital audio workstation as ubiquitous computers.

You do not currently have access to this content.