The Third Understanding China Conference Co-Hosted by the Berggruen Institute 21st Century Council

December 16, 2018

5pm Beijing, China

The third Understanding China Conference will be held in Beijing from December 16 to 18. The conference will be co-hosted by the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, the Beijing Municipal Government, and the Berggruen Institute 21st Century Council.

With the theme of China’s new growth drivers and new opportunities for global cooperation, the conference will see participants from around the world engage in in-depth discussions and exchange of ideas on topics such as the redoubling of reform and opening-up efforts, pursuing socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, and building a community of shared future for mankind.

More than 40 international participants from political, academic and business circles in countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative and G20 countries have confirmed their attendance.

They include former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, former Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Finnish prime minister Matti Vanhanen, former Greek prime minister George Papandreou, former Hungarian prime minister Gordon Bajnai, former Pakistani prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former British prime minister Gordon Brown, Harvard University political scientist Professor Graham Allison, and Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel.

The first and second Understanding China conferences were held in Beijing in 2013 and 2015.

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.