USC Dornsife and the Berggruen Institute Extend Fellowship Collaboration, Renew Partnership Through 2024-2025

Christopher Eldred

Media Contact
Christopher Eldred
Berggruen Institute
O: (310)-550-7083
M: (857) 654-8850

USC Dornsife and the Berggruen Institute Extend Fellowship Collaboration, Renew Partnership Through 2024-2025

The Berggruen Institute and USC Dornsife are pleased to announce the renewal of the USC Berggruen Fellowship Program through the academic year 2024-25. The program is co-hosted by the Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life at USC, led by Andrew Lakoff (Director) and Emily R. Anderson (Associate Director). At the Berggruen Institute, the program is led by Vice President of Programs Nils Gilman and Director of Fellowships Jennifer Bourne.

Since its inception in 2019, the program has sponsored over twenty-one fellows in fields ranging from philosophy to history, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science, as well as non-academic thinkers in journalism and the arts. Fellows spend a year of flexible work and study within one of the Berggruen Institute’s four program areas on the “great transformations” of the 21st century: the Future of Capitalism, the Future of Democracy, Future Humans, and the Planetary.

Based on Los Angeles, Fellows split time between the Berggruen Institute’s headquarters and USC’s campus. In addition to their individual projects, Fellows engage in collaborative activities including topic-focused Fellowship working groups, public lectures to USC departments and research centers, and meetings with faculty and graduate students.

More information on the USC Berggruen Fellowship can be found here. The 2022-23 class of Fellows will be announced in the spring.


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.


About the USC Dornsife Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life
The USC Dornsife Center on Science, Technology and Public Life (STPL) generates a unique conversation among humanists, social scientists, and natural scientists about the social and political implications of new developments in science and technology. Through public programming, basic research, and graduate training, STPL fosters sustained reflection on the possibilities and limits of scientific and technological innovation. In addition to the USC Berggruen Fellowship, in 2022-23 STPL will host a Mellon Sawyer seminar on the theme of “Precarious Ecologies,” and a Social Science Research Council-funded project on “The Future of Facts in Latin America.”

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.