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Liquid Architecture
Machine Listening, a Curriculum

13 Mar 2021, Sat 03:00 PM - 06:00 PM

Free Jazz III. Sound. Walks.

Register here for the Zoom link.

Activation: Improvisation and Control
by Sean Dockray, Dr James Parker, and Joel Stern (all Australia)
Saturday, 13 March 2021, 3.00 – 6.00pm Singapore / 6.00 – 9.00pm Australia

MACHINE LISTENING is an investigation and experiment in collective learning, instigated by artist Sean Dockray, legal scholar James Parker, and curator Joel Stern for Liquid Architecture. The project launched in October 2020 at Unsound Festival in Poland and continues at NTU CCA Singapore.

Our devices are listening to us. Previous generations of audio-technology transmitted, recorded or manipulated sound. Today our digital voice assistants, smart speakers and a growing range of related technologies are increasingly able to analyse and respond to it as well. Scientists and engineers increasingly refer to this as ‘machine listening’, though the first widespread use of the term was in computer music. Machine listening is much more than just a new scientific discipline or vein of technical innovation however. It is also an emergent field of knowledge-power, of data extraction and colonialism, capital accumulation, automation and the management of desire. It demands critical and artistic attention.

As part of Free Jazz III, the project explores machine listening’s history in computer music, and the evolving dynamics between improvisation and control.


Sean Dockray (Australia) is an artist, writer, and programmer whose work explores the politics of technology, with a particular emphasis on artificial intelligences and the algorithmic web. He is also the founding director of the Los Angeles non-profit Telic Arts Exchange, and initiator of knowledge-sharing platforms, The Public School and Aaaaarg.

Joel Stern (Australia) is a curator, researcher, and artist living and working on Wurundjeri land in Melbourne, Australia. Since 2013, Stern has been Artistic Director at Liquid Archi­tec­ture, a leading organ­i­sa­tion that creates spaces for sonic expe­ri­ence and crit­i­cal listening at the inter­sec­tion of con­tem­po­rary art and exper­i­men­tal music.  

James Parker (Australia) is an academic and curator based at Institute for International Law and Humanities at Melbourne Law School. His research focuses on the relations between law, sound and listening.


Image: Debris Facility, Aerial Ear, 2020. Courtesy Liquid Architecture and Debris Facility.