Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching


Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta most recently served as Professor of Political Science at Ashoka University and formerly served as its Vice-Chancellor. He was previously President, Center for Policy Research, and has been a Professor at Harvard, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the Global Faculty Program at NYU Law School. He has published widely in political theory, constitutional law, society and politics in India, governance and political economy, and international affairs.

Additionally, he was Member-Convenor of the Prime Minister of India’s National Knowledge Commission, Member of the Supreme Court appointed Lyngdoh Committee on elections in Indian Universities, and has contributed to a number of reports for leading Government of India and International Agencies. He was on the Board of Governors of International Development Research Centre. He was Vice-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on Global Governance. He has also served on the Board of NIPFP, NCAER and NIID. He is on the editorial board of journals such as the American Political Science Review and Journal of Democracy. He received the 2010 Malcolm Adiseshiah Award and the 2011 Infosys Prize for Social Sciences (Political Science and International Relations). He also served on the Social Sciences jury for the Infosys Prize in 2017, and on the Holberg Committee from 2012-2018. He is a prolific columnist, and is an Editorial Consultant to the Indian Express.

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.