Versionland (2023)A video opera
Premiere: 20th February 2023, Cafe OTO, London.
Versionland is a video opera telling stories written by an artificial intelligence about the creation and destruction of the world by a sound known as ‘The Hum’.
The Hum is a disputed acoustic phenomenon that happens in many places throughout the world, in which hearers claim to hear an unexplained, untraceable sound. Versionland takes as its influence the myriad responses people have to The Hum - re-enactments, recording experiments, conspiracy theories, spoofs, and bad jokes.
It was initially developed through a series of recorded devising sessions with Phaedra Ensemble, as part of Sound and Music’s New Voices programme. These were edited and fed through neural nets and algorithms to create a prismatic and otherworldly feature-length video opera, which draws in an encyclopaedic range of influences, from British variety acts and karaoke to musique concrete and early 90s speech synthesis.
Versionland was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and was made possible by Sound and Music's New Voices programme.
With thanks to the Marchus Trust and The Ralph Vaughn Williams Trust for additional funding.