Cover image of the review
Sean Dockray, Always Learning, Everywhere… (2020), Screenshot, Machine Listening, a curriculum, Session 1, (Against) The World of Coming Listening Machines.

Machine Listening, a curriculum
  • Benison Kilby


31 Oct 2020
Liquid Architecture, Unsound Festival 2 Oct - 4 Oct 2020

Machines have ears. Calculating and extractive, they record and identify sounds, monitor populations, environments and even the health status of individuals. So what exactly do these machines hear? And how are the sounds they collect instrumentalised? These are some of the questions explored in Machine Listening, a curriculum, deftly curated by artist Sean Dockray, legal scholar James Parker and curator Joel Stern for Liquid Architecture. The program was launched on Zoom and streamed to Facebook and YouTube over the course of three evenings in early October as part of Unsound Festival. Framed around distinct problems and approaches to audio surveillance, each of the sessions brought together a diverse roster of artists, musicians, activists and academics from across the globe, many of them veterans of their respective fields. Growing out of their earlier exhibition, Eavesdropping, at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in 2018, the multi-format endeavour is complemented with interviews, experiments and texts.

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