Exploring the Seventh Continent

September 14, 2019

1pm Pera Museum – Beyoglu

The 16th Istanbul Biennial suggests a ”new world” image with the Seventh Continent. The dialogue between the artist, the scientist and the thinkers is at the center of two discussion sessions that will open and close the biennial. Anthropologists, philosophers, and sociologists are associated with artists participating in the biennial to propose new perspectives on the Anthropocene that testify to the mutations of contemporary thought. The basic issue of these dialogues is to propose an updated anthropology idea that extends to non-human beings and circulates between feminism, decolonization, cosmology and sociology.

In the opening and closing weeks of the 16th Istanbul Biennial, these speech sessions take a new look at contemporary theory by bringing together thinkers who cross the boundaries between aesthetic and feminist theory and sociology, as well as the anthropologists of nonhuman and philosophers of plant life as a critical response to the views presented by the seventh continent. How and to what extent will the anthropocene transform contemporary thought? Each thinker is paired with an artist from the exhibition, and the short interventions of both end with a discussion.

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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