Huaihong He

Huaihong He

Professor; 2019-2020 Berggruen China Center Fellow


He Huaihong is a professor in the Philosophy Department of Peking University, where his research focuses on ethics, political philosophy, and Chinese social history. In the 1980s, he mainly studied western philosophy and ethics and engaged in translation, producing ten major translated works including John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice (co-translation) and Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia. Since the 1990s, He has been especially interested in writing on ethical principles and Chinese history, authoring A Theory of Conscience (良心论) and Social Ethics in Transitional China (转型中国的社会伦理, in English), as well as penning Hereditary Society (世袭社会) and Selection Society (选举社会) from the perspective of traditional justice in an attempt to decipher Chinese social history. In addition, He attaches great importance to the relationship between religious belief and modern society and is also the author of Morality, God and Man (道德·上帝与人). In recent years, He has been particularly interested in ethics in the hi-tech era, civilization and desire, and war and peace, and intends to continue researching these issues at Peking University’s Berggruen Research Center.


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.