Rupture and Reconstruction: Transforming “Native” and “Foreign”

September 22, 2023


Time and Date:
September 22, 2023 11pm PT | 2-4:30 pm, September 23 BTC

Auditorium, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, 798 Art Zone, Beijing


About the topic:
In an era of deepening regional and cultural conflicts and broadening critique of the concept of “globalization,”  it has become increasingly challenging for us to meaningfully contemplate “the Self,” and the traditional-modern binary is also confronting challenges to its relevance and accuracy as a conceptual framework. What is the relationship between the so-called “native” and the “foreign”? What is really going on when we experience a “culture shock”?

The third lecture of the series, “Rupture and Reconstruction: Multiple Perspectives on Modernity” presents a conversation between Professor SUN Ge and Professor XU Jilin. Using  the intellectual history of modern China and Japan as an entry point, Sun and Xu will engage with the questions above by discussing key intellectuals and political developments, relativism and pluralism, and legacye and impact of East Asian traditions.

“I will never give up trying to discover an irreversible trend from history. For me, the world since the Renaissance and the Reformation is a history of resistance by humanity against nature, the poor against the privileged, and ‘underdeveloped countries’ against the ‘West.'” (Shinzo Maruyama, “Thought and Action in Modern Politics,” 1962)

About the speakers:
Researcher, the Institute of Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Literature

Dr. SUN GeDr. Sun’s is a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences whose research focuses on the history of Japanese political thought, comparative cultural studies between China and Japan, and East Asian studies. She is committed to promoting in-depth dialogue among intellectuals in East Asia. In the 1990s, she jointly promoted the “Dialogue between Chinese and Japanese Intellectuals” with renowned professor Yuzo Mizoguchi.

Dr. Sun’sHer academic articles, many of which have been translated into English, and published in a number of journals. These include “In Search of the Asia Principle” (China and Asia: A Journal in Historical Studies, Vol. 3, No.1, 2021), “How Does Asia Mean? (Part I)” (Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2000),

“How Does Asia Mean? (Part II)” (Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2000), and “Globalization and Cultural Difference: Thoughts on the Situation of Trans-Cultural Knowledge” (Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2001).  Her main books in Chinese include The Paradox of Takeuchi (Revised Edition) (Sanlian Bookstore, 2023), Wandering on the Edge (Commercial Press, 2021), From Naha to Shanghai (Beijing United Publishing Company, 2020), and Asia Moment: Creating an Alternative Way of Understanding the World (Guizhou People’s Publishing House, 2019).

Dr. Sun is a distinguished professor at the School of Japanese Language at Beijing Second Foreign Languages University. After graduating from the Chinese Department of Jilin University, she obtained a PhD in Political Science from the Tokyo Metropolitan University.

XU Jilin
Distinuished Professor of History and Zijiang Scholar, East China Normal University
Deputy Director, Institute of Modern Chinese Thoughts and Culture
Dr. Xu Jilin is a historian specializing in the history of modern 20th century  Chinese modern history of thought and intellectuals in the 20th century, and the urban culture of Shanghai. His recent publications include: Searching for Universal Values: New Trends in Modern Chinese Thought (Japan Hosei University Press, 2020, in Japanese), China’s Moment? (《中国时刻?》, City University of Hong Kong Press, 2019, in Chinese), Settling Down: Intellectuals in the Great Era(《安身立命:大时代中的知识人》, Shanghai People’s Publishing House Co., 2019, in Chinese), The Spiritual History of a Nation (《一个民族的精神史》, Hong Kong Sanlian Bookstore, 2019, in Chinese), Rethinking China’s Rise: A Liberal Critique (Cambridge University Press, 2018), World as Family-state: Individuals, State and Global Identity in Modern China (《家国天下:现代中国的个人、国家与世界认同》, Shanghai People’s Publishing House Co., 2017, in Chinese), and Ten Lectures on Chinese Intellectuals (《中国知识分子十论》, Fudan University Press, 2003, in Chinese). HHis book China’s Moment? was ranked first awarded the best among the top ten annual Chinese books by Yazhou Zhoukan in 2019, and his book Ten Lectures on Chinese Intellectuals was awarded theIntellectuals the National Library of China  Wenjin Book Award in 2005 by National Library of China in 2005. In 2004, he was named one of 50 Chinese public intellectuals by Southern People Weekly. He has also served asbeen a senior visiting scholar or visiting professor atfor The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Australian National University, National University of Singapore, Harvard University, Academia Sinica, University of British Columbia, École Nationale Supérieure des Sciences Sociales, Aichi University, University of Tokyo, and Freie Universität Berlin.

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.