Anjan Sundaram in “No Direction Home”: blue | Aneesh Aneesh in “Citizenship is a Myth”: red

“‘Who am I becoming?’ An immigrant inevitably asks this question.”

“To explain what citizenship means today, there is a
widespread tendency to reach for the
language of membership.”

“I arrived at Yale a week before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Over the months that followed, I felt the growing pressure on
foreigners to prove they were benign. I changed how I looked,
dressed, ate, and spoke.”

“Membership, let’s admit, is a deeply seductive idea.
promises several things: inclusion, community, solidarity,
and common enemies who lurk in the vast and
unfamiliar outside world

“My new home demanded subtle new allegiances.”

“The model of membership cannot handle
overlapping allegiances, divided loyalties and mobile
populations creating an unhelpful situation of ‘us’ versus
‘them’ in a world where ‘us’ and ‘them’ are becoming inexorably
more integrated by transportation and communication.”

“India does not allow dual-national citizens, so that meant
I had to give up my Indian passport. The French consul
who processed my citizenship application asked if I wanted
to change my name, to make it easier to pronounce for
French people.”

“…we shouldn’t really call them dual citizenships because
they do not necessarily mean equal memberships in
two countries; an individual may have varying packages of
rights in numerous nations.”

“Migration had indeed granted my father worldly
success. But I wondered if either of us realized
what we had given up.”

We live in a world where being born within a country does
not guarantee all citizenship rights, and being born in a
foreign country may not necessarily restrict them.”

“To be on the move is to be willing to leave behind
what we have built and start over again. In the places
I have lived I have felt like no one in particular, just
someone from far away.”

“There are two problems with the language of membership:
It no longer works, and it is far less inclusive than it seems.”

“But my itinerant life has led me to belong nowhere…
I make myself anew.”

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.

RAVE (IRCAM 2021) https://github.com/acids-ircam/RAVE