Carsten Berg

Carsten Berg

Political Scientist, 2021-2022 Berggruen Fellow


Carsten Berg is a political scientist working in particular in the field of deliberative and participatory democracy at transnational level.

He advises on a regular basis national parliaments, EU institutions and international organizations and has run several successful citizens’ initiatives on democratic reform and the protection of the environment. In 2002-2003, Carsten Berg was actively involved in the Convention on the Future of Europe where he successfully contributed to the incorporation in the EU Treaties of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), the world’s first and only instrument of transnational participatory democracy. He has since been engaged in the promotion of transnational democracy as director of the ECI Association.

He is co-founder of several organizations such as Democracy International and Democracy R&D. Moreover, he is also very active in the development of new instruments of deliberative democracy and co-designed the world’s first permanent randomly selected Citizens’ Assembly in Eastern Belgium.

As a Berggruen Fellow he has been coordinating the Transnational Democracy Observatory at the EUI in Florence and has evaluated the transnational randomly selected citizens’ panels organized in the context of the Conference on the Future of Europe. His ongoing writings are based on these assessments and focus in particular on the conception of a permanent randomly selected Citizens’ Assembly at EU level.”

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.