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Upload - An Opera Film by Michael van der Aa

0000: What if our minds could live forever?

  • Upload | Copyright: © Marco Borggreve

    Upload © Marco Borggreve

  • Upload | Copyright: © Marco Borggreve

    Upload © Marco Borggreve

  • Upload | Copyright: © Marco Borggreve

    Upload © Marco Borggreve

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. 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" explore these ancient philosophical questions against the backdrop of present-day and near-future technologies.

The film opera tells the story of a father, who suffers a severe trauma, and a daughter. It features two timelines: the present (shortly after the upload of the father) and the recent past in which the upload process takes place. In these flashbacks, we see the technology used for the uploading: motion capture and foley recordings. During this process the physical body dies. The father is treated by a psychiatrist and two technicians in a Swiss laboratory. Conversations with family and friends with all kinds of memories emphasize the failing of memory and implicitly the inaccuracy of the upload process. In between we see moments from the present: the daughter wasn’t aware of her father’s ardent wish to be uploaded in order to reduce his trauma. This process fails; the father puts his fate in his daughter’s hands. She has to decide whether or not she will delete him…

Genre Opera Film
Recording location Dutch National Opera
Production year 2021
Duration 79'
Production Company Dutch National Opera
Stage Director Michael van der Aa
Distribution TV EuroArts Music
Composer Michael van der Aa
Orchestra / Band Ensemble MusikFabrik
Conductor Otto Tausk
Main Actor Roderick Williams (father), Julia Bollock (daughter)

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