UK ‘Collective Message’ launched at poetry pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

The UK Pavilion in Dubai, Expo 2020. Photo credit Alin Constantin

The UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 has now officially been launched, featuring an AI algorithm that will use words from thousands of visitors throughout Expo 2020 Dubai to create a poetic ‘Collective Message’ projected onto the front of the pavilion’s cone-shaped structure. The Expo 2020 runs from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

The algorithm used to create the AI-generated poetic couplets was trained by AI experts and programmers with consultation from The Poetry Society, the Scottish Poetry Library and The Poetry Archive, in partnership with the Department for International Trade. The AI algorithm was supplied with a corpus of thousands of poems from more than 100 British poets, with the aim that it express the complex nature of humanity through verse.

The idea for this human ‘Collective Message’ is inspired by Stephen Hawking’s Breakthrough Message, which asks: “If we discover other civilisations out there, what message could we send that represents humanity and planet Earth?” 

Visitors to the UK pavilion in Dubai will be invited to submit a word they feel describes humanity or life on Earth, and the AI will then draw on these words to generate poetic couplets to create the ‘Collective Message’.

Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of the Expo 2020 Dubai, donated the first word to the UK pavilion, ‘Dignity’.

The UK Pavilion’s 21-metre-high cone is the vision of UK artist and designer, Es Devlin, OBE, working in collaboration with global brand agency Avantgarde.  Es Devlin has previously worked on stage sets for London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony, as well as creating a poetry-reciting fifth lion in London’s Trafalgar Square.

The UK Pavilion can be followed on Twitter @ukpavilion2020 and Instagram UKPavilion2020 as well as via the UK at Expo 2020 Dubai website.

Take a virtual tour of the UK’s poetry pavilion

Visit the UK at Expo 202o Dubai website

Read the news piece on the development of the UK poetry pavilion AI

1 October 2021