Renovating Democracy in an Era of Populism, Inequality and Global Competition

October 2, 2019

4:30pm Perry World House – Pennsylvania

The rise of populism in the West and the rise of China in the East have triggered a worldwide rethink of how democracies work—but also how they can fail. Nicolas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels, authors of the new book Renovating Democracy, will discuss how democracies can respond to the ways globalism and digital capitalism have deepened the divide between rich and poor, challenged the social contract, and tested domestic and global institutions.

Join Penn President Amy Gutmann, Perry World House and the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy for an exciting conversation with Berggruen and Gardels, who cofounded the Berggruen Institute to develop new ideas about how to reshape political and social institutions at a time of change. Perry World House Visiting Fellow and Philadelphia Inquirer Worldview Columnist Trudy Rubin will moderate. Reception will follow.

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.