Jun Gong

Jun Gong

Professor of Philosophy, Sun Yat-sen University; 2022-2023 Berggruen China Center Fellow


Jun Gong is a professor at the Department of Philosophy at Sun Yat-sen University. He is also a professor and deputy director at the Institute of Comparative Religion, and deputy director at the Center for Buddhist Studies at Sun Yat-sen University. Professor Gong serves as the deputy director of the Eastern Philosophy Committee of China National Association of the History of Western Philosophy, and a member of Religion of Institute of Evaluation at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He is also a member of the academic editorial board of New History, editor-in-chief of the Chinese Buddhist Review, and a member of editorial board of the Journal of Humanistic Religion. From 2002 to 2003, he was a visiting scholar at the Department of East Asian Studies at Harvard University. Professor Gong has lectured or held part-time academic positions at many prestigious academic institutions in North America, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. He is mainly engaged in research on the history of Buddhist thought, East Asian Zen Buddhism, interpretation of Buddhist classics, Buddhism and society, and ecological ethics. His publications and translations include The History of Modern Buddhism as ‘Knowledge’ – An Intellectual History Discourse in the East Asian Perspective, Introduction to Chinese Zen Studies, A History of Zen: A Problem-Centered Discourse on the History of Ideas, Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm over Critical Buddhism” (translation), etc.

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