COVID-19 Response - Case Studies of Four Countries

We are living through a real-time natural experiment on a global scale. The differential performance of countries, cities and regions in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic is a live test of the effectiveness, capacity and legitimacy of governments, leaders and social contracts.

– Steve Webber and Nils Gilman, Noema Magazine, Issue no. 1, Spring 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rare crisis that all states are facing simultaneously. Although imperfect—as a result of variations in population, geography and even the evolving epidemiology—this test measures not only pandemic preparedness and response but more importantly state capacity and social resilience. The following report contains four case studies of different countries’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each report first looks at the pre-pandemic preparedness of the country in question, then presents the strategy that was implemented—including a detailed timeline of action—and an assessment of its performance. Each report then explains the results using insights from the Berggruen Governance Index (BGI). To show why some countries were able to respond more quickly and effectively than others—often in spite of lower aggregate governance scores—this report examines the sub-components of the BGI that contributed to the quality of the responses and compares them to other measures of preparedness such as medical equipment production, public health alert systems, and healthcare capacity. By looking beyond the aggregate Quality of Governance, this approach allows us to better understand which aspects of governance capacity matter most in crisis management.

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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