Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 October 2020

EXPO 2020

Music lovers to pitch in as part of global chorus for UK Expo 2020 pavilion

Visitors will hear a constantly changing melody as they experience being inside the chamber of a wooden musical instrument

Musicians across the world have been asked to record short audio tracks to be selected as part of a global score for the UK pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Participants can use any instrument from bongos, bagpipes or bells or even hum a note or snap their fingers.

The international contributions will form a soundtrack played inside a dramatic wooden structure being constructed for the six-month event that starts in October next year.

British designers have worked to create a sensory and visual experience to make visitors feel they are walking inside the chamber of a wooden musical instrument.

The final musical score will constantly vary in sound as it resonates within the structure's timber-lined interior.

Organisers of the UK offering have asked music lovers across the world to be part of a ‘shared global sound’ by recording themselves singing or playing an instrument of their choice.

“We want the music to represent the fact we are all part of one global community, not just our own country,” the organisers said in a statement.

“Whatever style you sing or whatever instrument you play, we want your contribution in your own unique way.

“From bongos to bagpipes, we’re asking people to play or even hum a few notes that will become part of a larger piece of music for all visitors to enjoy.”

The music will be interlaced into a seven-minute multi-layered sound clip by Polyphonia, British sound designers who have worked on projects for Cirque du Soleil and the Imperial War Museum.

The aim is for families and friends to have fun while creating their submissions during widespread Covid-19 stay-home restrictions worldwide.

Music is an integral part of the pavilion conceptualized by UK artist Es Devlin.

The Expo pavilions bringing the world together in one emirate:

“We are working with voices from all over the world to create the choral soundscape which will envelop visitors at the heart of the pavilion and we would love to include your contribution,” she said.

“We want to express a full, beautiful range and breadth and diversity of voices, every age, gender, ethnicity.”

Laura Faulkner, UK commissioner for Expo 2020 Dubai, said music was a powerful way to connect now more than ever.

“Expo 2020 Dubai is a key moment for all of us to reconnect as a global community,” she said.

“In 2021 we will be coming together through Expo to explore new ideas and create the future. The UK Pavilion’s soundscape provides a perfect opportunity to begin the journey, as we join together in a positive, uplifting and creative way.”

Polyphonia have designed the 360-degree sound system that will use 16 concealed speakers and software for an immersive experience for visitors.

Jade Pybus and Andy Theakstone, co-founders of Polyphonia, will compose a meditative soundscape using artificial intelligence to fuse human voices and electronic sound.

“We hope that whenever one enters into the space, they might discover a different sound each time,” they said in a statement.

“The multi-channel system we have designed allows us to pinpoint many instruments and voices woven together, as well move individual sounds around within the choral space.”

They hoped visitors would experience an atmosphere that felt both ancient and futuristic.

The choral space is the heart of the £20 million pavilion.

Other key elements of the UK pavilion include walking through a maze of augmented reality that tells of Britain’s work in science, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

At the entrance of a spherical space, visitors can contribute a word in Arabic or English.

As they walk out, they can then see the collective message glow on small LED screens across a 20-metre high front façade and beamed over the Expo site.

This wraps into Ms Devlin’s inspiration for the pavilion that draws from physicist Stephen Hawking’s final 2015 Breakthrough Message project that had invited people to consider the message to communicate should they encounter an advanced civilisation in space.

Music submissions must be made by November 20.

Information on how to participate is available on the UK pavilion’s expo website.

Updated: September 23, 2020 04:22 PM

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