Xianglong Zhang*

Xianglong Zhang*

Philosopher, 2021-2022 Berggruen China Center Fellow


Xianglong Zhang was a professor of Philosophy at Peking University. He held a Ph.D. from SUNY at Buffalo, an M.A. from Toledo University, and a B.A. from Peking University. His research areas included Confucian philosophy, phenomenology, Western and Eastern comparative philosophy.

His major works (in Chinese except where noted) include: Heidegger’s Thought and Chinese Tao of Heaven; Biography of Heidegger; From Phenomenology to Confucius; The Exposition and Comments of Contemporary Western Philosophy; The Exposition and Comments of Classic Western Philosophy; Thinking to Take Refuge: The Chinese Ancient Philosophies in the Globalization; Lectures on the History of Confucian Philosophy (four volumes); German Philosophy, German Culture and Chinese Philosophical Thinking; Home and Filial Piety: From the View between the Chinese and the Western.

As a Berggruen Institute China Center Fellow, Professor Zhang led a project on “Alternative Science Fiction / Fantasy and the Philosophy of Family”.

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