Tim Shortley

Tim Shortley



Timothy Shortley presently serves as Senior Director for Africa and Washington D.C. Representative for the Berggruen Institute. In this capacity, Mr. Shortley leads initiatives in select African countries focused on governance and economic transformation and supports the Berggruen Institute. Prior to his appointment with the Berggruen Institute, Tim served as Deputy to the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and Director for the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy, serving both the Bush and Obama Administrations from July 2008 to January 2011. Tim served as Senior Advisor for Conflict Resolution to Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer from July 2007 to December 2008 with a focus on peace processes in the Great Lakes region. Additionally, Mr. Shortley served as Director for Africa on the National Security Council at the White House from October 2005 to July 2007. His portfolio included Sudan and East Africa, humanitarian, development and security issues. Mr. Shortley served with USAID from April 1995 to October 2005 in the humanitarian relief, conflict response, and development. Mr. Shortley travelled extensively in West, East and Central Africa, including living overseas for seven years in Rwanda and Ethiopia. In 1991, Tim began his career with the United Nations World Food Program in Rome, mobilizing resources and programming for emergency, refugee and internally displaced persons operations. Mr. Shortley attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the College of Naval Command and Staff College at the Naval War College.

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