Rupture and Reconstruction: The Philosophy Behind Social Science

June 30, 2023

11pm Berggruen China Center – Beijing, China

Venue: UCCA Auditorium, 798 Art District, Beijing

Language: Chinese

ZHAO Dingxin
Dean, School of Sociology, Zhejiang University
Max Palevsky Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago

SUN Xiangchen
Dean, School of Philosophy, Fudan University

Streaming Platform

About the series:
From June 2023 to February 2024, “Modern Time: Masterpieces from the Collection of Museum Berggruen / Nationalgalerie Berlin” will be held at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Shanghai and Beijing. It features nearly 100 works from 20th century modern art masters. During this period, an irreconcilable split occurred between a phase of modernity in Western civilization and modernity as an aesthetic concept: the former continued the worship of reason and an aspiration for a progressive view of history, while the latter, as avant-garde art, represented an attitude rooted in anti-bourgeois sentiment and a distrust of the idea of “modern civilization.” The Berggruen Research Center at Peking University, together with UCCA will present a series of academic lectures from July 2023 to early 2024 which will explore topics in intellectual history, philosophy, religion, and other fields. Prominent scholars will share their academic practices, allowing us to collectively clarify the true essence of this complex theme of modernity.

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.