By the end of 2024, an estimated 8.4 billion digital voice assistants like Siri and Alexa will be in use worldwide, outnumbering the human population.

We are currently living in a reality where technology has become essential to living our lives. With an unprecedented number of digital voices and automated responses filling our spaces, where does that leave our own human voices? How can we ensure our voices are heard and amplified in a world becoming increasingly reliant upon algorithms, and unite in solidarity to build sustainable political power that prioritises human and environmental needs? These questions are at the heart of what we’re focusing on at Mozilla Festival this year.

It’s also from these critical conversations that the Songs of the Living, has emerged, drawing deep inspiration from The Parables series by Octavia E. Butler. This year marks the 31st anniversary of the first novel, Parable of the Sower, with Parable of the Talents following as the second book in this profound series. The third book, Parable of the Trickster, was interestingly never completed, which serves as an symbolic testament to a journey and narrative that is still unfolding. We, the guardians of the world, are empowered to continue living and shaping this story through mediums like the Songs of the Living.

Crowd at Choir Practice for Songs of the Living MozFest House Amsterdam

Drawing Inspiration from The Parables Experience

Songs of the Living inspired by Octavia E. Butler's acclaimed Parables series, was created by Toshi Reagon to pay homage to the use of song and vibration as technology as a way to create sanctuary and maintain survival, in testament to the resilience of her ancestors. This concept was brought to life in The Parables Experience at MozFest Virtual 2023, where participants, guided by the creative insights of ill Weaver and Valencia James, were invited to integrate their own stories into a narrative of collective action.

Songs of the Living has gained acclaim in New York City with performances at the Lincoln Center and is now expanding to Abu Dhabi in partnership with the New York University Abu Dhabi Arts Center.

For a deeper dive into Butler's work, explore the podcast hosted by Toshi Reagon and Adrienne Maree Brown where they read chapters from The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of Talents here.

“When I think of AI, I think it’s such an incredible opportunity, but if we haven't learned our lessons on how to be kind to the planet, [and] how to be kind to each other, it’ll probably be another opportunity for exploitation and harm.”

Toshi Reagon

Toshi Reagon is an American musician of folk, blues, gospel, rock and funk, as well as a composer, curator, and producer.

Songs of the Living in Action: A Prelude in the Netherlands

A photo of the stage and audience at Songs of the Living Event in Rotterdam 2024

MozFest House Amsterdam presents Songs of the Living in collaboration with Together and Dedicated, as a space to reimagine a future where technology amplifies our humanity rather than diminishing it, enriching our lives through solidarity. We extend the invitation to become an active (and vocal) participant in the movement to reclaim our humanity and environment, alongside the internet.

The first meetup for Songs of the Living was in December 2023. This intimate event helped shape our vision for the larger gathering we hope to build together with you at MozFest House Amsterdam.

In the welcoming ambiance of OX.Space, we brought together a diverse mix of local creatives, activists, and technologists for an evening filled with melody, meaningful dialogue, and communal dining. "The Songs of the Living Salon," moderated by Stephanie Afrifa—a passionate advocate for culture, arts, and empowerment—guided us through the evening in which each participant had the chance to introduce themselves, share their work — be it music, poetry, or their perspectives on AI and technology — and most importantly, connect on a human level.

The Salon was a space for sharing, introspection, and connection, setting the tone for the deeper engagements we're aiming for at MozFest House Amsterdam.

What's Next?

You're officially invited to join the incredible collective of local artists and practitioners exploring their humanity and potential to shape the world.

Songs of the Living Community Choir will be having in-person rehearsals from June 8-10. Whether you're passionate about singing, or simply want to meet new people and be a part of something larger than yourself, we want you with us. Each rehearsal is two hours and includes coffee, water, and snacks. Music and lyrics will be shared in advance. For more information on what’s in store and how to sign up, please visit our webpage.

If you're interested in the Songs of the Living experience but would prefer not to sing, unlock access to the concert taking place on June 13th by securing your Early Bird Ticket. This pass also grants you access to a variety of sessions, workshops, and panels alongside the art exhibition – the perfect place for you to meet other like-minded people.

Mozilla Festival is part art, tech, and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world.

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