A series on Human Becoming

Nicolas Berggruen

In September, 2015, the Berggruen Institute organized a workshop to discuss the relationship between Self and the Meaning of Life. It’s was a rare opportunity for intellectuals to interact and share different worldviews. One idea that emerged from the workshop discussion is that it’s best to think of the self as “becoming” rather than “being”. To this end, many workshop participants have written short essays to explain what “human becoming” means from her/his perspective and derives one practical or policy implication. Each essay in this series draws from the perspective of a cultural tradition but in accessible language for those unfamiliar with the tradition.  

Asma Afsaruddin

Human Becoming from an Islamic Perspective

David Wong

Becoming a Different Person

Jay Ogilvy

Human Becoming and the Idea of Progress

Jin Li

Becoming a Confucian

Julian Baggini

Julian Baggini

Peter Hershock

Human Beings or Human Becomings: Why Asking Who is Poor Really Matters

Rebecca Goldstein

Rebecca Goldstein

Roger Ames

From the Ideology of Individualism to Confucian Role Ethics in a Changing World Cultural Order

Thomas Kasulis

Becoming Human: A Shinto View

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