he third of three experimental Zoom sessions investigating the coming world of listening machines across the spectrum of its dystopian and utopian dimensions. Comprising a montage of presentations, performance, sound, video, experiments in listening, and music, this final session considers the effects of the pandemic on machinic ears.
From the perspective of the machine listening industry, the pandemic is not an intermission, it’s an opportunity: a dream come true. Thoughtlessness, touchlessness, wakewordlessness: listening with the pandemic, these and other tendencies of machine listening are more apparent than ever, only blanketed now in the twin auras of inevitability and social good. What’s clear is that machine listening will not be put back in its box. Imaginative work will have to be done to provoke something more emancipatory or constructive in the pandemic’s wake. “When the sounds of the pandemic recede,” as Shannon Mattern puts it, “how will our hearing be changed?”