Renovating Democracy: A Special Conversation with Nicolas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels

October 10, 2019

6:30pm Asia Society | New York

He has signed on the “Giving Pledge,” committing the majority of his wealth to philanthropy; now Nicolas Berggruen, Chairman of the Berggruen Institute, is rethinking the way technology and social media are impacting democracy.

In his new book Renovating Democracy, Berggruen considers how to govern in the age of globalization and digital capitalism.

Join Berggruen and WorldPost Editor-in-chief and the book’s co-author Nathan Gardels for a thought-provoking conversation with Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran.  Followed by a book sale and signing.

Nicolas Berggruen is Founder and Chairman of the Berggruen Institute where he formed the 21st Century Council, the Council for the Future of Europe and Think Long California—all dedicated to the design and implementation of good governance. Through his work with the Berggruen Institute China Center, he fosters new ideas with the aim to bridge understanding between the East and the West.

Nathan Gardels is Cofounder of the Berggruen Institute and Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost, a global media platform. He is the coauthor (with Nicolas Berggruen) of Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century: A Middle Way between East and West, a Financial Times best book of 2012. His previous books include American Idol after Iraq, The Changing Global Order and At Century’s End.

Josette Sheeran is President and CEO of the Asia Society, and also serves as the UN Special Envoy to Haiti. She is former vice chair of the World Economic Forum, and Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme. She served as a diplomat and negotiator for the United States, including as U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, and as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative.

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.