UK EXPO PAVILION IMAGE 3 EXTERIOR NIGHT-1600774596556
The UK Pavilion has been conceived as a meeting point — a place of collective thinking and action. At its heart is the Choral Space — illuminated by glowing words donated by visitors. Image Credit:

Dubai: Music lovers from around the world, of all ages and from every walk of life, are being invited by the UK to collaborate and contribute to an amazing crowdsourced piece of music that showcases the sounds of humanity.

The soundscape was conceived as part of the design for the UK Pavilion visitor experience by Avantgarde, along with lead designer and artist Es Devlin OBE, who has worked with the likes of Beyoncé, U2 and Adele. The project will be led by British audio design studio Polyphonia and the composition will be heard by millions of visitors to the UK Pavilion at the next World Expo in Dubai, a six-month long celebration of humanity’s resilience, creativity, culture and innovation, now opening October 2021.

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According to the British Embassy in Dubai, from talented musicians and singers, to people tapping out simple rhythms, humming or clicking fingers, musical contributions recorded on microphones or mobile phones, in bedrooms, garages or gardens are welcomed from every corner of the globe from people of all ages and abilities. They will be woven together into a 7-minute long, multilayered tapestry of sound, composed by Polyphonia, who have recently worked on projects for Cirque du Soleil, The Imperial War Museum and the BBC.

Chance to showcase musical talent

The project offers people the chance to showcase their musical talents, have fun producing submissions with family and friends, and continue the tradition of virtual choirs, orchestras and musical sessions that have flourished during COVID-19 lockdowns around the world.

Es Devlin OBE, Artist and Designer of the UK Pavilion, said: “Expo 2020 Dubai will be visited by many millions from all over the planet. The UK Pavilion has been conceived as a meeting point — a place of collective thinking and action. At its heart is the Choral Space — illuminated by glowing words donated by visitors. 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. We want to express a full, beautiful range and breadth and diversity of voices, every age, gender, ethnicity. Please add your voice or instrumental to the soundscape of the UK Pavilion at the World Expo”.

Open call for all nationalities

With an open call for all nationalities to sing or perform and a variety of world instruments sought, from bagpipes and harps to sitars and dulcimers, the crowdsourced composition reflects the melting-pot of influences and genres that make British music a global success.

Laura Faulkner OBE, UK Commissioner for Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Making and sharing music with others, whether it be through singing, percussion or any form of musical instrument, is a powerful way to connect us and experience our universal humanity, something that has become more important than ever this year. Expo 2020 Dubai is a key moment for all of us to reconnect as a global community. 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.”

360 degree spatial sound system

Polyphonia have designed a 360 degree spatial sound system utilising 16 concealed speakers and 3rd Order Ambisonic software to create a fully immersive and unique sound that will be crafted and moulded to the space.

Jade Pybus and Andy Theakstone, Co-Founders of Polyphonia said: “We have composed a meditative soundscape which reflects the key artistic aspirations of the UK Pavilion and its architectural shape. Throughout our composition we will articulate a sonic journey that spans the breadth of human history and invention, from ancient choral traditions and cultural sounds to global satellite communications. We are particularly interested in the space that voice has occupied throughout history, both the human and the electronic, and how AI can be used as a tool when composing music through the use of generative synthesizers.”

How to participate

To become part of the soundscape, people are being invited to record themselves singing or playing one of eight different, pre-composed parts — four melodies, two instrumentals or two simple rhythms. The melodies have been designed to be either sung or played on any instrument, while one of the rhythm parts is intended to be easy enough for musical beginners or young children. Audio can be recorded on a mobile phone and uploaded via a simple online form.

Expo 2020 Dubai

The UK is participating in Expo 2020 Dubai, taking place from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Over 190 nations are taking part with 70% of the visitors expected from around the world. The overarching theme for Expo 2020 Dubai is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.