The Berggruen Institute Signs Preliminary Agreement With the Fondazione di Venezia to Acquire the Historic Casa dei Tre Oci

Rachel S. Bauch

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The Berggruen Institute has signed a preliminary agreement with the Fondazione di Venezia to acquire the Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice. The goal is for the Tre Oci to become the first European location for Berggruen Institute activities: a gathering place for global dialogue and new ideas housing a unique program of intellectual and artistic content through international summits, workshops, and symposia and the presentation of exhibitions in the visual arts and architecture. Tre Oci would attract local and international guests, policymakers and political thinkers, artists and architects, authors and scholars, scientists and technologists—across cultures, disciplines, and political boundaries—to develop and promote long-term answers to the biggest challenges of the 21st Century.

In centering its European program at La Casa dei Tre Oci, the Institute would preserve the Tre Oci’s function and identity as part of the cultural fabric of Venice. As part of this arrangement, the Fondazione di Venezia would continue to use the Tre Oci to present its program of photography exhibitions for two years after the signing of the final agreement and would potentially work with the Institute to partner on future exhibitions.

Designed as a private home and studio by the artist Mario De Maria and built on the Giudecca in 1913, the neo-Gothic Casa dei Tre Oci has a long history of hosting artists and intellectuals (including participants in the Venice Biennale) and serving as a venue for cultural meetings and debates. The Fondazione di Venezia acquired the Tre Oci in 2000, conducted a careful architectural restoration, and in 2012 reopened the building to the public as a space for photography exhibitions. In 2007, the Regional Directorate for Cultural and Landscape Heritage of the Veneto declared the Tre Oci to be an asset of historical and artistic interest.

Nicolas Berggruen said, “For centuries, Venice has been one of the globe’s pre-eminent gateway cities, where people, ideas, cultural expressions, and economic currents have flowed together and changed the world. While the Berggruen Institute continues to build its principal headquarters in Los Angeles, where it is poised between the American continent and East Asia, we are deeply gratified to take this step forward, together with the Fondazione di Venezia, in establishing a European presence at La Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice at the immemorial Mediterranean nexus of the Silk Road and Europe. We look forward to completing the agreement with the Fondazione di Venezia and to developing our program at the Tre Oci.”

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About the Berggruen Institute
The Berggruen Institute’s mission is to develop foundational ideas and shape political, economic, and social institutions for the 21st century. Providing critical analysis using an outwardly expansive and purposeful network, we bring together some of the best minds and most authoritative voices from across cultural and political boundaries to explore fundamental questions of our time. Our objective is enduring impact on the progress and direction of societies around the world. To date, projects inaugurated at the Berggruen Institute have helped develop a youth jobs plan for Europe, fostered a more open and constructive dialogue between Chinese leadership and the West, strengthened the ballot initiative process in California, and launched Noema, a new publication that brings thought leaders from around the world together to share ideas. In addition, the Berggruen Prize, a $1 million award, is conferred annually by an independent jury to a thinker whose ideas are shaping human self-understanding to advance humankind.

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.