Berggruen Research Center, Peking University Inaugurated as new Hub for Research and Dialogue

President of Peking University Hao Ping attended the ceremony and addressed the audience
President of Peking University Hao Ping attended the ceremony and addressed the audience

The inauguration ceremony of the Berggruen Research Center, Peking University took place at the Lecture Hall of the Peking University Education Foundation in late December 2018.

The Berggruen Research Center, Peking University was jointly founded as a platform where first-class scholars from East and West can discuss and debate issues of global significance to enrich and develop human civilization and contribute to social change and progress.

The ceremony was presided over by Secretary-General of the Peking University Education Foundation Li Yuning. During the ceremony, Nicolas Berggruen, Chairman and Founder of the Berggruen Institute, pointed out that the Berggruen Institute has long been committed to enhancing mankind’s in-depth understanding on Great Transformations, cultivating and developing new ideas to assist institutions, policymakers, and the public.

The Berggruen Institute hopes to build a global platform for dialogue, promoting cross-cultural communication and accelerating academic and ideological innovations, as well as creating new types of governance policies.

President of Peking University Hao Ping said that Peking University advocates know and understand China in the context of globalization from an interdisciplinary background.

Berggruen pointed out that the cultures and nations of the world are not machine-made but different and distinctive and that innovative ideas and cultures draw from the fusion of different civilizations. Noting that the Institute has always respected and attached great importance to Eastern culture, Berggruen communicated his goals for the newly-launched Center: to connect East and West and build a peaceful world.

Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and life science have led to the fourth scientific and technological revolution. The Center is committed to integrating the humanities, social and natural sciences as well as pooling research resources at home and abroad. The Center will be focusing on the two major themes of human change and global governance: deeply exploring the significance of the “Global Order” to the contemporary era and using contemporary wisdom to solve common global challenges.

Roger T. Ames, Academic Adviser, Berggruen Institute China Center outlined recent scientific research projects and the Center’s future work plans. Ames was instrumental in creating an academic committee to develop the Center’s scholarly ties. These include Former President of Peking University Lin Jianhua and Academic Advisor of Berggruen China Center Roger T. Ames as co-chairs with the Center’s co-directors Song Bing – Vice President of the Berggruen Institute and Director of Berggruen China Center and Liu Zhe, Deputy Director of Peking University’s Department of Philosophy.

Attendance for the event included: Chairman and Founder of the Berggruen Institute Nicolas Berggruen; Former Prime Minister of Pakistan and Berggruen Institute 21st Century Council Member Shaukat Aziz; President of Peking University Hao Pin; Former President of Peking University Lin Jianhua; Vice President of Peking University and Vice Chairman of the Education Foundation Wang Bo; Director of the Peking University Department of Philosophy Yang Haifeng; Secretary of the Party Committee Shu Hongjun; and the chairs, deans, professors and student representatives from various departments and schools of Peking University.

In addition, experts and scholars from other universities and research institutions such as Tsinghua University; Renmin University of China; Fudan University; Wuhan University; Sun Yat-Sen University; Shandong University; the University of Science and Technology of China; the Chinese Academy of Sciences; and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences were invited.


composed by Arswain
machine learning consultation by Anna Tskhovrebov
commissioned by the Berggruen Institute
premiered at the Bradbury Building
downtown Los Angeles
april 22, 2022

Human perception of what sounds “beautiful” is necessarily biased and exclusive. If we are to truly expand our hearing apparatus, and thus our notion of beauty, we must not only shed preconceived sonic associations but also invite creative participation from beings non-human and non-living. We must also begin to cede creative control away from ourselves and toward such beings by encouraging them to exercise their own standards of beauty and collaborate with each other.

Movement I: Alarm Call
‘Alarm Call’ is a long-form composition and sound collage that juxtaposes, combines, and manipulates alarm calls from various human, non-human, and non-living beings. Evolutionary biologists understand the alarm call to be an altruistic behavior between species, who, by warning others of danger, place themselves by instinct in a broader system of belonging. The piece poses the question: how might we hear better to broaden and enhance our sense of belonging in the universe? Might we behave more altruistically if we better heed the calls of – and call out to – non-human beings?

Using granular synthesis, biofeedback, and algorithmic modulation, I fold the human alarm call – the siren – into non-human alarm calls, generating novel “inter-being” sonic collaborations with increasing sophistication and complexity. 

Movement II: A.I.-Truism
A synthesizer piece co-written with an AI in the style of Vangelis’s Blade Runner score, to pay homage to the space of the Bradbury Building.

Movement III: Alarmism
A machine learning model “learns” A.I.Truism and recreates Alarm Call, generating an original fusion of the two.

Movement IV: A.I. Call
A machine learning model “learns” Alarm Call and recreates A.I.Truism, generating an original fusion of the two.