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Watch Android Opera MIRROR at Expo 2020 Dubai on March 2 – wknd.

Thursday, Mar 03, 2022 | Rajab 30, 1443
Published: Tue 1 Mar 2022, 3:01 PM
Cutting-edge Japanese musician Shibuya Keiichiro will premiere his new Android Opera MIRROR at Expo 2020 Dubai, today at Jubilee Stage at 6:30pm. His return to the UAE marks the world premier of MIRROR alongside Alter3, the Android which is equipped with artificial intelligence.
Alter3 is a robot designed to evolve through interaction with the outside world. Developed jointly by the Universities of Osaka and Tokyo and mixi Inc., with the support of Warner Music Japan, its main aim is to examine the potential of the android’s communication with humans.
“Musical ideas are descending on me all the time and it’s only a matter of matching them with the text and then inputting them in the computer, which is the time consuming part. If you asked me to sing the opera, I could present it from beginning to end,” said Shibuya.
Because androids are very concrete existences, the concept of artificial life becomes much clearer. The android’s movement isn’t programmed in advance. When audio input signals enter the “nerve cells” of the android embedded with an artificial neural network, the network organizes itself to avoid that stimuli.
There’s also an unstable rhythm generator inside, so they connect overall to produce stable dynamics on top of unstable dynamics.
It’s evident that Shibuya has strong ideas about the production, including staging, design and choreography. This comes quite naturally to him, since in he is not only the composer but also the one controlling all aspects of the music of the Android.
Welcome back to the UAE! Your debut of Scary Beauty was definitely an eye opener in the world of Android Opera; is MIRROR a continuation of that narration or has Alter3 evolved post Covid-19?
I think that MIRROR has been evolved as an entire work, not only Alter3. As of Scary Beauty, I amplified the relationship between human and technology by making an android conducting orchestra. Even in our daily lives we are dominated by technology.
However, in MIRROR, I want to explore the new model of the harmony and unification of diversity between humans, technology, oldest Buddhist music with 1200 years’ history, orchestras, and electronic music – which seem to be extremely different from each other. When it comes to the Alter3’s evolvement, he/she sings AI-generated texts and sometimes sings his own melody generated by AI through corresponding to the piano and Buddhist music.
Expo 2020 Dubai is a spectacular stage for a global premiere such as this, how did you prepare for this musical exhibition?
I created MIRROR for Dubai which is a truly futuristic city, where a rigorous and open-minded culture coexists with a high-tech industry. I wanted to create a significant contrast and mix feelings of diversity with past and future/acoustic and electronics through my composition.
What can the audience expect from MIRROR?
At the end of the last piece of music, Buddhist monks chant about world peace which we had planned a year ago. However, now that the world situation has changed, the meaning of singing about world peace has become more relevant.
Can man and machine share a stage in harmony without compromising on talent?
Absolutely possible. Each performer tries to do their best – for example, Buddhist monks sing completely different music which is their own traditional music. In parallel, orchestra and the android play my music. I compose all different elements by deciding the notes, timing, and entire flow of the showcase.
Your production integrates sound, visual and digital presentation projected simultaneously; how do you maintain focus on the subject?
The key concept is to present a new model of harmony. I would like to focus on the bigger picture not a single effect or performer.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
As a musician, how did you get to this spot of technological evolution in music?
I’m not interested in technology that doesn’t affect music. What makes the android interesting is their human form, but they are not people..
It’s evident that AI will continue to play a prominent role in music industry. How will the shift affect human performers?
I believe that only artists who are willing to incorporate AI in their music will be able to survive the growing demands of the entertainment industry.
How far-fetched is your idea of a complete Android Orchestra? How soon can we anticipate a repertoire for a complete concert?
The vision of a complete Android Orchestra is already in the works; my projection is towards the next Expo 2025, Osaka Kansai, where I would like to present the wonder of Android Opera. However, I will continue to evolve and enhance the functionality of the Android while touring new countries. (Supplied interview)
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