The 2021/22 season will see the world premiere of Michel’s new film opera Upload. This multimedia work is co-commissioned by Dutch National Opera, Park Avenue Armory, Oper Köln, Bregenzer Festspiele and Ensemble MusikFabrik and features live performances by Julia Bullock and Roderick Williams. Actors Katja Herbers, Ashley Zukerman, Esther Mugambi, Samuel West and Claron McFadden will be featuring in the film part. Ensemble Musikfabrik will perform conducted by Otto Tausk.
Upload explores the possibility of eternal life through an upload of a digital version of ourselves. Investigating what this means for our ‘humanness’, our identity, and our relationship with others.
What if our minds could live forever? Recent advances in artificial intelligence and neuroscience mean that we will soon be able to map our memories and experiences, and to use these data to build a digital consciousness identical with our own. These ‘whole brain emulations’ will be able to carry on indefinitely after our deaths: a way of virtual resurrection. But where do our identities really reside? In our minds, our bodies, or our relationships? And how far do the data of our lives determine our fate? Upload will explore these ancient philosophical questions against the backdrop of present-day and near-future technologies.
Michel van der Aa will be the composer, director and librettist of Upload, in close collaboration with the artistic and technical teams with whom he also created the highly acclaimed productions Blank Out and Sunken Garden.