A Picture of Transparency

PRiSM 8³ | A Picture of Transparency

Composer: Rachael Gibson, The University of Liverpool

Scientist: Professor Rachel Williams, Professor of Ophthalmic Bioengineering, The University of Liverpool

This exciting project links scientists with musicians, and when I was asked to take part, I thought it would be a fantastic way for us to share our research with a new audience. Representing science in different ways so people can understand it from different points of view is really important. It’s been so interesting to observe how the music has developed and see my research from a different point of view. Professor Rachel Williams

A composer in the laboratory

Rachael Gibson in the laboratory in the Department of Eye and Vision Science

Rachel Williams, Professor of Ophthalmic Bioengineering in the Department of Eye and Vision Science, has been working with Rachael Gibson, a composer from the University of Liverpool.

The pair have met on several occasions to discuss what they do, why they do it and what it means to them, to inspire the music that Rachael has written.

Rachel’s research revolves around the design and development of advanced materials to overcome vision loss. When Rachael and Rachel got together in the lab they dissected an eye to understand its components and how it processes light to produce vision. They also experimented with materials to show how their properties change as they are mixed.

The music Rachael has composed was inspired by this material processing and represents the initial state where the material components are individual and dissociated followed by the middle section where the materials mix and swirl together and begin to react with each other and eventually as they combine to process a single gel with a softness and transparency the music becomes less free and is now more rhythmically and tonally stable.

The electronics feature manipulations of improvised sounds conducted by both collaborators on the guitar.