Upload: a film opera composed and directed by Michel van der Aa
commissioned by Dutch National Opera, Opera Cologne, Park Avenue Armory New York, Bregenzer Festspiele, doubleA foundation, and Ensemble Musikfabrik
featuring Julia Bullock, Roderick Williams, Katja Herbers, Ashley Zuckerman, Esther Mugambi
Upload 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 (physical movements are captured in an animation), foley recordings (of the sounds on stage).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, a form of digital euthanasia.
Images: Marco Borggreve