Dr Thao Phan: Listening to Misrecognition

Listening to Misrecognition

Author Leah Hawkins & Loren Dela Cruz
Date 3 February 2022

What is the sound of racialisation? How might we listen to misrecognition? What does machine error tell us about the precision of racism? And how can the tools of a racist system be used to transcribe new forms of resistance?

In an experimental presentation, feminist technoscience researcher and ADM+S Research Fellow Dr Thao Phan brings together critical work on race and algorithmic culture with new techniques for dissecting and analysing automatic speech recognition, applied to personal and public archives drawn from Thao’s life and research. She splits her experiment into four parts, each contending with the challenges of advocating against a system that constantly shifts beyond our view.

“Algorithmic techniques for sorting, classifying, and producing knowledge about the world have opened up new regimes of perception,” said Dr Phan.

Dr Phan’s experiments into misrecognition, obfuscation and error demonstrate how speech recognition can be a tool of analysis in understanding how machine listening and classification create new systems of racialisation and oppression.

This presentation was part of the Artistic program for the 2021 Digital Intimacies #7 Symposium hosted in partnership with UQ Art Museum’s Conflict in My Outlook exhibition series. It is presented in partnership with ANU Art, Politics and Social Engagement and supported by the Digital Cultures and Societies Initiative and UQ Node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society.

Watch the event recording on YouTube.


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