From Siri to state surveillance, machine listening is playing an increasingly central role in modern life. But what will it mean to live in a world of ubiquitous over-hearing, and how will this new field of science and technology affect how we inhabit our sonic environments?


Join Art Institute of Chicago Associate Professor Seth Kim-Cohen, Liquid Architecture artistic director Joel Stern, University of Victoria Associate Professor Sara Ramshaw and MLS Senior Lecturer Dr James Parker in a panel discussion about the aesthetic, philosophical, moral, legal and political implications of networked machine listening.

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This event is hosted by the Melbourne Law School and the Digital Citizens Research Network, and is part of this year's Digital Citizens Conference.

Art Installation: Always Learning (2018) by Sean Dockray

Always Learning stages an increasingly reflexive conversation between three devices – an Amazon Echo, a Google Home Assistant, and an Apple Homepod – and invites us to consider the possible implications of autonomic computing, the rise of voice operation and our increasing comfort levels with devices that listen by default. Electronic personal assistants, Dockray suggests, are just the kindergarten for a vast corporate listening apparatus – an algorithmic ‘panacousticon’ – the effects of which we should not expect to be benign.

“Drawing on recent psychoanalytical, hermeneutic and phenomenological approaches to the histories of art, Manderson weaves a history of the law from 1500 to the present day – a history that neither progresses nor unravels but keeps returning to the archetypal, indeed holy, trinity of law, death and time, which he argues inhabits and manifests in art. Through a close and extended reading of his chosen artworks, and through the innovative methodologies he uses to unpack them, Manderson’s chapters build like symphonic movements into a veritable masterclass in the historiography of art. Art, Manderson argues, cannot escape the deathly grip of the law and its temporality – a grip, he argues, that will always entice and elude us.”

Always Learning will be exhibited at the Melbourne Law School, as part of the Digital Citizens Conference.