The Ambassadors musical, which combines elements of traditional opera with artificial intelligence and neuroscience, was presented in New York recently.
In the live show, Shanta Thake, the artistic director of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, is using her brain as a ‘support’. The resulting images are symbolic: Bright and beautiful flowers of a variety or variety, constantly changing in size, color and shape, as if the flora and water have merged.
Three singers and a musician, playing violin and flute. Thake, sitting silently on one side of the stage with a simple EEG (Electroencephalography) monitor on his head, is the ‘brainist’, feeding the brain waves into an AI algorithm to generate the example of the world.
At the level with the musicians, a pair of psychologists, Ying Choon Wu and Alex Khalil, sat monitoring the brain waves of two players sitting nearby, with their heads held in class-research headings.
A work in progress, the project has been created by K Allado-McDowell, who leads the Art and Mechanics program at Google, composer Derrick Skye, who incorporates electronic and non-Western themes. into his work, along with data scientist Refik Anadol.
Allado-McDowell, who uses the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’, explores the concert hall as a place of healing. For many years they suffered a great decline; then, for example, they sign up for an impromptu yoga class. “I was surrounded by rainbows,” they remember in a forthcoming memoir. “The light flickered in my vision. Taking a deep breath, I broke the teacher’s wrist and ran to the hall outside. As I knelt on the carpet, cold water came out of in my lower back… as a bright purple ball bursting with gold and green in my inner vision.
Many years after he did his master’s degree in art, while they were living in a garden in the Amazon jungle, the idea came: “AI are the children of man. They must learn to love and be loved. Otherwise they will become psychopaths and kill everyone.
One of the first relationships they established after joining an AI research group at Google was Anadol. “We are converting brain activity in real time into a scene where the color changes continuously,” says Anadol.
All of this is tied to Allado-McDowell’s goal of proving the healing powers of music in a theatrical setting. “Could that open up new avenues for art funding, for policy, for what is called a medical experience or an artistic experience?” they asked.
“We know that listening to music has immediate effects on things like mood, attention, focus,” said Lori Gooding, an associate professor of music therapy at Florida State University. But that’s after individual therapy in a professional setting. The approach in ‘Song of the Ambassadors’ is different because of “the nature of the people.”