A Right to Public Health - a Conversation with Dr. Paul Farmer

Rachel S. Bauch

Last December, in lieu of our annual Berggruen Prize Gala, we announced the selection of medical anthropologist Dr. Paul Farmer as the winner of the 2020 Berggruen Prize for Philosophy & Culture. To celebrate Dr. Farmer and his ideas and work in improving global public health equity, we have partnered with the BBC for an hour-long special on BBC World Service Radio. Presented by BBC correspondent Razia Iqbal in collaboration with the Berggruen Institute, A Right to Health aired on Saturday, June 26 honoring the work of Dr. Farmer and featuring a conversation about the world’s most pressing public health issues.

Melinda French Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr. Andrew Goddard, President of the Royal College of Physicians; and other leading names in philanthropy, medicine, and humanitarian aid joined the discussion.

Dr. Farmer also took questions from members of the public from around the world, including China, India, Nigeria, the Gaza strip, United Kingdom, and the United States. Questions such as: How can we afford to take care of our elderly populations? Can the battles against tuberculosis and malaria be won? How has the pandemic affected our mental health? Why are some people in the United States still suffering with substandard levels of water supplies and poor sanitation?

Please click here to listen to the full conversation.

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.

RAVE (IRCAM 2021) https://github.com/acids-ircam/RAVE