Henry Elkus

Henry Elkus

Founder and CEO: Helena


Henry Elkus is Founder and CEO of Helena. Helena brings together some of the world’s most remarkable people and works alongside them to materialize ideas that address significant global issues and create new innovations.

Helena’s past and current projects have sought to address elements of climate change, global security, economic inequality and the development of advanced technologies. Helena’s “Factory in the Sky” Project supported the development and construction of the world’s first commercial carbon-capture factory, and its “Shield Project” catalyzed state and federal action to help protect the North American Electrical grid from threats due to solar storms and cyber-attack.

Helena works alongside a small group of exceptional leaders throughout the year and around the world called Helena Members. They include Four-Star Generals, artificial intelligence experts, Fortune 100 Executives, Nobel Laureates, Academy Award Winners, CIA Directors, Academics, NGO Leaders, Olympic athletes, explorers, and more.

Outside of Helena, Henry serves as Social Entrepreneur in Residence at The Boston Consulting Group, as Special Advisor to the Berggruen Institute, and writes for the Wall Street Journal’s online small business panel. Henry left Yale University after his sophomore year to lead Helena full time.

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