Fellowship - old

The Berggruen USC Fellows Program

The Berggruen USC Fellows Program is a partnership between the Berggruen Institute and the USC Dornsife Center on Science, Technology and Public Life. We welcome academics with an existing appointment (most likely for a sabbatical year), and intellectuals without an existing academic appointment, for whom the Berggruen Fellowship may serve as a retreat from work in industry, government, or the arts. Berggruen USC Fellows are resident in Los Angeles and pursue their own research projects while also participating in the Berggruen Institute’s public engagement initiatives. Fellows are able to leverage the intellectual resources of the University of Southern California and are encouraged to develop joint intellectual activities with USC faculty and graduate students.

The application cycle is normally from October 12 through January 2. For more information on the application timeline and requirements, please visit https://dornsife.usc.edu/stpl/usc-beggruen-fellowship-application/

The Berggruen Fellowship Program is a cornerstone of the Institute’s mission to nurture ideas that shape the future. Since its inception in 2015, the program has established academic partnerships at premier research universities throughout the world: Harvard, New York University, Oxford, Peking University, Stanford, Tsinghua University, and University of Southern California. It offers scholars the opportunity of flexible periods to live and work in both the United States and China.

Berggruen Fellows produce books, scholarly workshops, deliver lectures, colloquia, and academic articles to disseminate the ideas cultivated throughout their fellowship. Although diverse in their areas of study, Berggruen Fellows also collaborate and dialogue with one another throughout their term, providing an opportunity to expand upon and refine their ideas.

The themes of the fellowship range from global and technological development to philosophical and cultural change, with the focus varying within each program area. Berggruen Fellows’ independent research and points of collaboration will extend the Institute’s programmatic work on these Great Transformations: the Future of Capitalism, the Future of Democracy, The Planetary, and Future Humans.

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