On the Loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

(L-R) Antonio Damasio, Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah, Nicolas Berggruen, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Amy Gutmann and David Chalmers attend the Fourth Annual Berggruen Prize Gala celebrating 2019 Laureate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg In New York City on December 16, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Berggruen Institute )

One year ago, the jurors for the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture were excited to select Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the 2019 recipient. We were thrilled to meet her at the award ceremony to celebrate her life and her influence on the law and social justice. Now, we mourn her death.

Along with all of our colleagues at the Berggruen Institute, we are saddened by the passing of a warm, witty, and remarkably strong human being. She was a crusader for social justice and equality. And as jurors who examined her writings, we are grateful for having learned from such a profound thinker. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s impressive contributions combined deep and creative intellectual engagement with astute strategy and lifelong dedication to advancing equal rights under the law.

As we wrote last year, “Few in our era have done more to bring vital philosophical ideas to fruition in practical affairs than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has been both a visionary and a strategic leader in securing equality, fairness, and the rule of law not only in the realm of theory but in social institutions and the lives of individual people.”

In her passing, Ruth Bader Ginsburg strengthens our resolve to honor her work and defend her ideals.

The 2019 Berggruen Prize Jury

Anthony Appiah, Chair
David Chalmers
Antonio Damasio
Elif Shafak
Wang Hui

On behalf of the Institute

Nicolas Berggruen, Chair
Dawn Nakagawa, Executive Vice-President
Craig Calhoun, Senior Advisor

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