Stuart Candy

Stuart Candy

Futurist, 2021-2022 Berggruen Fellow


Stuart Candy, Ph.D. (@futuryst) helps people think about possible worlds by bringing them to life. Cocreator of the acclaimed imagination game The Thing From The Future, and coeditor of the collection Design and Futures, his experiential practice, scholarship, and frameworks have influenced practitioners around the world, appearing in museums, festivals, and city streets, on the Discovery Channel, and in the pages of Wired, The Economist and VICE. He collaborates to build a critical and creative capacity for foresight, imagination, and long-term responsibility, with recent partners including United Nations agencies, the BBC, World Economic Forum, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, NASA JPL, United States Conference of Mayors, and Alaska’s Cook Inlet Tribal Council. Dr. Candy is Director of Situation Lab and Associate Professor of Design at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh), and was the first Fellow of the Long Now Foundation (San Francisco), and also of the Museum of Tomorrow (Rio de Janeiro).

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.