Free Public Lecture
Room 102, Level 1
185 Pelham Street
Panel: 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.
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.
Always Learning will be exhibited at the Melbourne Law School, as part of the Digital Citizens Conference.
Associate Professor Sara Ramshaw, University of Victoria
Associate Professor Sara Ramshaw
University of Victoria
Sara Ramshaw was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law in 2017 following previous appointments at the University of Exeter (England) and Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) (Northern Ireland). After receiving her B.A. (Hons) from the University of Toronto, Sara obtained both a LLB and a LLM from the University of British Columbia. She then clerked at the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) and was called to the Bar of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2000. Sara worked for the Ministry of the Attorney General at the Superior Court of Justice, Family Court in Toronto before commencing postgraduate studies at the University of London (Birkbeck College) in England. Sara’s doctoral thesis, completed in 2007, examined the legal regulation of jazz musicians in New York City (19401967) through the lens of poststructural theory informed by feminism, critical race theory and critical improvisation studies. During the 20089 academic year, Sara was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Improvisation, Community and Social Practice (ICASP) project in Montreal. Her monograph, Justice as Improvisation: The Law of the Extempore, published by Routledge in 2013, was nominated for the 2014 SocioLegal Studies Association (SLSA) Hart Book Prize. More recently, Sara was the principal investigator of a large UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)funded project, entitled Into the Key of Law: Transposing Musical Improvisation. The Case of Child Protection in Northern Ireland. Sara has published widely in numerous international journals and given invited talks throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. She has also held Visiting Fellowships at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (Queen’s University Belfast), the Institute for International Law and the Humanities (Melbourne Law School) and the Center for Globalization and Cultural Studies (University of Manitoba).
Associate Professor Seth Kim-Cohen, School of Art Institute Chicago
Associate Professor Seth Kim-Cohen
School of Art Institute Chicago
Seth KimCohen is the author of Against Ambience (2013), In The Blink of an Ear: Toward a NonCochlear Sonic Art (2009), and One Reason To Live: Conversations About Music (2006). His writing appears in edited volumes including, The Routledge Companion to the Sounding Arts (forthcoming), Sound: Documents of Contemporary Art (2011), Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation (2011). He has published in Artforum, Art Review, Critical Quarterly, Polygraph, Array, Leonard Music Journal, Tacet Experimental Music Review, Pitchfork, and Pop Stock. KimCohen’s performance and sound work has been presented in Chicago, New York, Denver, London, Toronto, Karlsruhe, Ljubljana, Barcelona, Stockholm, and Singapore. Artforum describes his work as “collegial and awkward, a reallife mistake framed by a semifictitious context… an allegory for experimental thinking in general.” He founded the rock bands Number One Cup and The Fire Show. KimCohen is Assistant Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He received a PhD from the London Consortium, University of London in 2006. He has also taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, and Yale University. He was, for a short time, quadriplegic.
Mr Joel Stern, Artistic Director
Mr Joel Stern
Joel Stern is a curator, researcher, and sound artist, concerned with theories and practices of sound and listening. With Danni Zuvela, he is the Artistic Director of Liquid Architecture, an Australian organisation that stages encounters and creates spaces for sonic experience and critical reflection on systems of sonic affect, at the intersection of contemporary art and experimental music. Stern's other initiatives include OtherFilm, an artist collective driven by a central curiosity about the limits of the moving image, and the experimental residency program Instrument Builders Project. which he instigated with Kristi Monfries in 2013. Through these initiatives and under the aegis of other institutions, Joel has been responsible for festivals, publications, exhibitions, screenings and concerts in Australia and internationally since the early 2000’s Joel is cocurator, with Dr. James Parker, of Eavesdropping, a collaboration taking place throughout 2018 between Liquid Architecture, Melbourne Law School and the Ian Potter Museum of Art, comprising an exhibition, a public program, series of working groups and touring event which explores the politics of listening through work by leading artists, researchers, writers and activists from Australia and around the world. Stern is a PhD candidate in Curatorial Practice at Monash Art, Design and Architecture, where he teaches Sound (in the Space of Art).
Dr James Parker, Senior Lecturer
Dr James Parker
Melbourne Law School
James Parker is the Director of a research program on Law, Sound and the International at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH). His research focuses on the relations between law, sound and listening, with a particular emphasis on international criminal law, the law of war and privacy. In 2017, James’ monograph Acoustic Jurisprudence: Listening to the Trial of Simon Bikindi (OUP 2015) was awarded the Penny Pether Prize (ECR) for scholarship in law, literature and the humanities. He has been a visiting fellow at the Program for Science, Technology and Society at the Harvard Kennedy School for Government, a faculty member at the Harvard Law School Institute for Global Law and Policy Workshop, and is an associate curator at Liquid Architecture, an Australian organisation for artists working with sound. James’ published research includes a book exploring the trial of Simon Bikindi, who was accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda of inciting genocide with his songs, articles and book chapters on the judicial soundscape, the gavel and the weaponisation of sound. He is currently working on the sociolegal history of eavesdropping and putting together an edited collection entitled Acoustic Justice. James teaches across evidence, criminal law, legal theory, ethics and STS, in both the JD and Masters programs. He has an interest in legal pedagogy and has both spoken and published on the topic. James also supervises doctoral students and welcomes research proposals from students interested in pursuing critical and theoretical projects concerning law’s many relations to sound or listening, legal aesthetics, the courtroom, evidence and forensics, science and technology, surveillance and contemporary warfare. James has provided commentary for the ABC, BBC and CNN, amongst others, on controversies including police use of the Long Range Acoustic Device and the alleged ‘sonic attacks’ at the US Embassy in Cuba in 2017. His music and art criticism has appeared in publications such as Tiny Mix Tapes, Frieze, Discipline , Sounding Out and Bloomsbury’s How to Write About Music (2015). And he has given public lectures and performances at universities and art institutions across the world, including Harvard, the Rietveld Academy, Gertrude Contemporary, firstdraft, Westspace and the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. With Joel Stern, James is cocurator of Eavesdropping, a collaboration between Liquid Architecture and Melbourne Law School, comprising an exhibition, a public program, series of working groups and touring event which explores the politics of listening through work by leading artists, researchers, writers and activists from Australia and around the world. In 2018, Eavesdropping was staged at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne. In 2019, it will be shown again at the City Gallery, Wellington, NZ.