New Organs of CreationsGrown hypothetical larynx as relic of future

New Organs of Creation, 2019

Keywords: power of the voice, tissue engineering, voice to change matter, stem cells, collaboration, exhibition, performance

Can a voice speak to us and even change us on a cellular level? How might we use this voice?


"I felt like I was having
an out-of-body experience."


"Almost like meditation.
Felt like being underwater."


"It was relaxing and also
something I’ve never experienced before."


(Audience reactions at the New Organs of Creation performance)

New Organs of Creation presents a hypothetical development of the human larynx (voice box), using tissue engineering, to extend the ability of the voice as a transformational instrument. The resulting voice attempts to enable a singer to talk directly to the body’s cells and steer the state of biological matter.

How to build an organ
Through a collaboration with a science team led by Prof Lucy Di-Silvio at Kings College London, a bio-scaffold of a redesigned larynx capable of an enhanced voice, was grown with living cells to create a hypothetical new organ. The process of seeding cells onto the scaffold, incubation and maintenance of living tissue, followed methods required in the clinical setting. The tissue was then ‘fixed’ and preserved transforming the organ into an artefact to be exhibited. Beside the grown larynx, we simulated the voice the organ might create and the potential impact of its use.

How to direct living cells with the voice
Research has shown that sound can help direct the eventual form of stem cells. For instance, low sound frequencies in the range of 50Hz to 100Hz can help coax stem cells into bone cells, instead of other forms such as heart or skin cells.

The synthetic larynx is designed to produce these low sound ranges, taking anatomical inspiration from the koala, cat and a man with a record-breaking bass voice.

The transformational voice
Transformational voice

Speak to me
With a voice that can reach these frequencies, a new anthem (composer, Matt Rogers & sound desiger, David Sheppard) aims to go beyond national divides, sung by a voice (mezzo-soprano, Louise Ashcroft) able to talk to us on a cellular level by directing the state of cells.

In the development of the piece, Burton Nitta recorded a range of public voices and voice experts. These discussions gauged personal relationships with voice at a particularly turbulent time of Brexit in the UK and a global climate crisis. Now more than ever, the voice came under scrutiny to explore the body and mind, individual and collective identity formation, the reality of truth, the empowered and voiceless. As a result, the voice is revealed as a powerful instrument for change.

New Organs of Creation is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and commissioned by Science Gallery London.




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Take home

New Organs of Creation
New Organs of Creation programme


After You





See also




New Organs of Creation by Burton Nitta (Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta)

In collaboration with

Artistic team: Matt Rogers: Composer, __David Sheppard: Sound Designer, __Louise Ashcroft: Mezzo Soprano and Actor

Scientific team: Prof Lucy Di-Silvio: Professor of Tissue Engineering, Centre for Oral, Clinical and Translational Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences, King's College London, Guy's Hospital, __Dr Trevor Coward: Consultant, Maxillofacial and Craniofacial Rehabilitation, King’s College London

Special Thanks to: Hassan Mohamed Farah: Tissue Engineering & Biophotonics Division, King’s College London, __Rhonda Henley-Smith: Head and Neck/Oral, Pathology Laboratory, Guys Hospital, __Prof Susan Standring: Emeritus Professor of Anatomy, Department of Anatomy, King's College London, __
Declan Costello, Consultant ENT Surgeon specialising in voice disorders, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and King Edward VII’s Hospital London, __
Prof David Reby: Professor of Ethology (Psychology), University of Sussex, __Simon Broad: Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine, King's College London, , __The Manx Singers, __Sir Joseph Alan Meale, __Winstan, __Aaron Mcmullan, __Noemie Soula, __Richard Donaldson, __Christos Pistolas, __Chem glassware, __Roger Flint, __The Burton family, __Candyce Dryburgh, __Jane Bowels, __Jack Churchill, __All the people who generously contribute their voices through the interview process

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