Mezzanine - an album stored in DNA and turned into paint

Mezzanine - an album stored in DNA and turned into paint

Memories are made of this.

Massive Attack’s album Mezzanine is 20 years old. To celebrate, the band is working with scientists to store the album on DNA. Once coded, the band’s classic album could last for at least hundreds of years, maybe thousands of years or longer. The technology that allows this was developed at ETH Zurich, and that’s where the band went to get their business done. 

“While the information stored on a CD or hard disk is a sequence of zeros and ones, biology stores genetic information in a sequence of the four building blocks of DNA: A, C, G and T,” said Robert Grass, professor at ETH Zurich’s Functional Materials Laboratory. “This method allows us to archive the music for hundreds to thousands of years.” Carve your name the wall of a cave – etch your music in the code of a little DNA.

The image you see below comes from ETH Zurich and Robert Grass. It represents one twenty-seven-thousandth of the code required to represent the entirety of Mezzanine. All of the songs, all encoded into A, C, G, and T. The team suggested they’d need to create approximately 5,000 glass spheres each with a diameter of 160 nanometers to represent the whole album.