A Zócalo/Noēma Magazine Event: Has Hysteria Conquered America?

October 6, 2020

1pm Virtual

Moderated by Ronald Brownstein, Senior Editor, The Atlantic and Author, The Second Civil War

The United States—once revered for its political stability—now seems gripped by political mania. American discourse, particularly around government and elections, is full of conspiracy theories, paranoia, xenophobia, and overheated denunciations. Such hysteria might be the product of more recent economic dislocation, failed wars, the digital revolution, or divisive elected officials. But perhaps it has deeper roots in America’s imperial history, and the contradictions within the country’s concept of itself. What explains the demented politics of the United States, and other countries in the West? Are the leading thinkers and policymakers of the West, who portray themselves as fighting political fanaticism, making any real progress—or are they making things worse?

Essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra, author most recently of Bland Fanatics: Liberals, Race and Empire, visits Zócalo to discuss whether the United States has lost its political mind.

Click here to register.

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