What Will Life Become?

Thursday, April 21 @ USC // Friday, April 22 @ Berggruen Institute // #WWLB

Day 1: University of Southern California

1:00 – 2:30pm: Public Keynote by Speaker (TBD)

2:45 – 3:15pm: Public Reception

4:00 – 6:00pm: Public Forum on the theme, What Will Life Become?

Dinner hosted by the Berggruen Institute for Invited Guests.

*Please note: Day 1 is composed of public events to which you are warmly invited. Both the Keynote and the Forum will be live broadcast on Youtube and their recordings will be available soon after the Workshop on this page.

USC COVID-19 Protocols

  • Masks must be worn at all indoor events, and proof of Covid 19 vaccination (or proof of approved medical or religious exemption) is required for entry to all events on USC’s campus.
  • Guests attending the event in person must complete Trojan Check and obtain the QR code required for entry to campus. Access the Trojan Check app here.
  • Please visit the USC Coronavirus Resource Center for more information.

Day 2: Berggruen Institute

8:30 – 9:00am: Breakfast at the Berggruen Institute

9:00 – 10am: Panel 1, Life Forms Beyond the Human,

10:15 – 11:15am: Panel 2, AI and Futures of the Mind

11:30 – 12:30pm: Futures of Life in Outer Space

12:30 – 1:30pm: Lunch

1:30 – 4 pm: Speculative Worldmaking Sessions

*Please note: Day 2 is composed of closed Panels and a Creative Session for invited participants. The Panels will be recorded like other BI Salons and will be available soon after the Workshop on this page.

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