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90 minute performance for keyboard in 20 movements by Michael Kieren Harvey accompanied with voice by Arjun von Caemmerer.


Commissioned by Brian Ritchie for MOFO 

Pulse Gallery, MONA, Berriedale, Tasmania

18-21 January 2018

Set Design: Green paint, gold vinyl text, 30 gold bean bags, astro turf, LED zygote ball, live plants.

Dimensions variable within the limits of the gallery: 22m long x 5 m wide x 3.8 metres high; LED Zygote ball: 1.5m diameter

With special thanks to Mat Ward, Nadege, Priscilla, and Shelley McCuaig of MONA, and to Simon Sprecher and the Sprecher Lab, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, for permission to use the Queen Ant brain image in promotional material.

Images: Adam Callen, Brigita Ozolins and Jesse Hunniford

The Green Brain Cycle 2018
Green Brain Cycle 2018
Green Brain Cycle 2018
Green Brain Cycle 2018
Green Brain Cycle 2018
Green Brain Cycle 2018
Green Brain Cycle 2018

The Green Brain Cycle is a 90 minute musical composition by Michael Kieren Harvey inspired by Frank Herbert's science fiction novel, The Green Brain (1966). The book is set in the not-so-distant future, where humankind has all but succeeded in controlling life on the planet and has almost completely wiped out insect life. The performance is in twenty movements for keyboard, each named after major insect genera, and is accompanied by a series of ‘concrete’ poems and vocal readings by poet Arjun von Caemmerer. Ozolins worked collaboratively with Harvey and von Caemmerer to design the set for the world premier performance of The Green Brain Cycle at MONA FOMA.


The set creates an environment to enhance the experience of engaging with Harvey's challenging contemporary keyboard composition that was inspired by contemplation of the possibility of the spontaneous emergence of a superior insect intelligence.  It is an immersive, dramatically lit jungle-like space using the colours green and gold to reference beetles and other insect life, live plants and trees, gold vinyl text on the walls, gold bean bags, and a large green orb that was suspended almost threateningly over the grand piano. 

The performance was recorded by MOVE, Australia’s longest running classical music label, and will be available on DVD in the near future.

The Green Brain Cycle was generously supported by MOFO. 

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