“The Berggruen Institute offers the rare mix of a very high level of intellectual conversation and a genuine commitment to solving the many pressing crises of the 21st century.”

– Dr. Dominic Boyer, 2021-22 Fellow

The Berggruen USC Fellowship, a partnership between the Berggruen Institute and the University of Southern California’s Dornsife Center on Science, Technology and Public Life welcomes academics, writers, creators, policymakers, and practitioners of all backgrounds to join our diverse community of intellectuals as we tackle the emerging crises of the 21st century. Over the course of their term, fellows will collaborate on cross-disciplinary projects aligned with the Berggruen Institute’s major areas of focus: Future of Democracy, Future of Capitalism, the Planetary, and Future Humans. Berggruen USC Fellows will be housed in Los Angeles and can take advantage of the intellectual resources of the University of Southern California. They are also encouraged to share their work and ideas with the broader public and develop joint intellectual activities with USC faculty and graduate students.

Learn about our current cohort of Berggruen-USC fellows and our Fellowship Alumni.

“I have benefitted tremendously from my interactions with the BI fellows… My current book reflects this intellectual cross-fertilization.”

– Dr. Jin Li, 2015-17 Fellow

History of the Fellowship Program

The Berggruen Fellowship Program is a cornerstone of the Institute’s mission to nurture ideas that shape the future. It was established in 2015 with the goal of bringing together the best possible minds from across cultural and political boundaries to explore the urgent questions of our times and develop innovative responses through collaborative interdisciplinary work. The focus of the fellowship has evolved from comparative philosophy and ethics to the profound and accelerating changes reshaping the foundations of the modern world.

In the early years of the program, we established academic partnerships with premier research universities throughout the world—Harvard, New York University, Oxford, Stanford, and Tsinghua—which would then host Berggruen Fellows during their academic-year terms. Beginning in 2018, BI has partnered with the University of Southern California to bring our fellows to Los Angeles to work from the Institute’s office at the Bradbury Building and the campus of USC to foster closer dialogue and collaboration among fellows.

Our fellows have produced written and multimedia content to disseminate ideas cultivated throughout their fellowships. Over 30 books have been published by our fellows during or in the immediate years following their Berggruen Fellowship terms. Fellows have also written op-eds for legacy media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Financial Times, and have contributed exclusive articles to Noema, BI’s flagship magazine. Fellows have also given congressional testimony, published policy whitepapers, delivered public lectures, and served as expert consultants to the UN, the WHO, and other governing bodies with global impact.

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