Marco Ferrante

Marco Ferrante

Philosopher; 2017-18 Berggruen Fellow at Oxford University


Marco Ferrante studied Sanskrit and classical Indian philosophy at the Sapienza University of Rome. His scholarly activities are mainly concerned with Brahmanical philosophical texts (in particular, non-dualistic traditions and the work of the grammarian/philosopher Bhartṛhari). His focus is on epistemology, metaphysics, linguistics, and philosophy of mind. Marco Ferrante first joined the IKGA in 2013 within the framework of the project “Language and action in early Brahmanical philosophy,” headed by Vincent Eltschinger and funded by the FWF (Austrian Science Fund). From 2015 to 2018 he continued at the Institute doing research as part of a further FWF-funded project, “A Śaiva interpretation for the Buddhist theory of exclusion (apoha),” headed by Marion Rastelli. Between 2018 and 2020 he was the Berggruen Fellow of Comparative Philosophy at the University of Oxford. In 2020 he returned to the Institute to do work within the WWTF-funded project “Deontic logic,” headed by Agata Ciabattoni and Elisa Freschi.

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.