Björk Launches AI-Assisted Live Score 'Kórsafn' in New York Hotel

Sister City and Microsoft have paired to bring the project to life

Photo: Warren Du Preez & Nick Thornton Jones

BY Allie GregoryPublished Jan 17, 2020

Björk has shared a new project called Kórsafn, an AI-assisted live score composed using choral arrangements from the artist's archives.

The score, which Microsoft calls an "AI-powered composition that builds on the generative soundscape concept," draws from decades of Björk's music and plays inside the lobby of a New York City hotel called Sister City. Björk and the Hamrahlid Choir stayed in the hotel for a month last year while working on the "Cornucopia" live show. 

The artist has shared the following statement about the collaboration:

an architectural structure in downtown manhattan offered me the hand in an AI tango and i accepted the call, i am alert with curiosity waiting the results. i offered them my choir archives, written over 17 years that will float through the pinball of artificial intelligence by the grid of bird migrations, clouds, aeroplanes and that voluptuous thing called barometer  !  hudson valley happens to be one of the most bird-trafficked deltas on the planet, i know this of my own experience .... hope you will enjoy this ! warmth björk

Sister City explains the score's mechanics further, noting that the score is influenced by objects moving across the sky above a camera placed on top of the hotel.

"Microsoft AI is being continuously trained to identify objects captured by a skyline camera perched atop Sister City," reads a statement from Sister City. "Types of clouds, birds, planes, snow, sunrise, and sunset are some of the events that trigger various choral arrangements from Björk's career to play in the hotel's lobby. As the piece evolves and the AI learns, you can hear something new every day."

According to Microsoft, the Icelandic words for choral and archive is "kór" and "safn," meaning Kórsafn translates to "choral archive."

Listen to the "choral archives" live here, and watch the video below to learn more.

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