The UK Pavilion is inspired by a project from the late scientist Stephen Hawking, in which he pondered how humanity could express itself to an extraterrestrial civilization.
Every visitor is invited to add a word as they enter this giant wooden musical instrument - they emerge through a twenty mtr diameter collective poem in which their word is included. Powered by machine learning, defined by 1.5 billion parameters, trained on 200,000 lines of poetry curated by a diverse team of poetry curators, the building writes a new poem every sixty seconds.
The music composition, written, recorded and arranged by Polyphonia is represented through a global call for participation, crowdsourcing recordings of non-lyrical musical phrases played or sung by members of the public in the UK, UAE and around the world.
Sound resonates throughout its architectural shape like the chamber of an ancient instrument, a multichannel tapestry of music created from a collection of original recordings from across the UK and the globe.
An expression of a country from past to future, capturing the notion of a shared future and its roots in our shared past. From a single human voice, Bengali choirs from Bradford, Sea shanties from Cornwall, Polish choirs from Norwich, computer-enabled synthesisers, traditional rhythms and contemporary body percussion to multiple layered instrumental melodies, each component of the soundscape has been carefully woven together to create an emotional landscape reverberating its uniquely distinctive multicultural identity.
The final music composition was experienced through a 16 speaker, custom designed surround sound system set within the centre of the pavilion cone. Using innovative higher-order ambisonic technology to mix and decode the sound for the uniquely shaped space, we were enabled to create a life-like 360 sound image, positioning the listener within the centre of the orchestra.
Artistic Direction + Design
Es Devlin Studio
Music Composition + Sound Design
Audio System Design, Coding + Programming
Projection and Video
Luke Halls Studio
Lead Associate Designer