Personal profile

Biography

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

Recent exhibitions include Data Relations at ACCA, Melbourne (2022); House of Mirrors: Artificial Intelligence as Phantasm at HKMV, Dortmund, Germany (2022); Don’t Be Evil, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane (2021); Eavesdropping at City Gallery, Wellington (2019); OPEN SCORES: How to program the commons at panke.gallery, Berlin (2019); and Part of the Labyrinth, 10th Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (2019). Recent performances and presentations animating algorithmic processes and errors include "Hack Piece" at Logical Conclusions/ Automation Effects (2022); "Listening to the Diagnostic Ear" for the Ian Potter Museum of Art (2020); "Patent Futures" at the Automated Culture Symposium (2019), hosted by Monash's Culture Media Economy group; and "Automation Takes Control" at the University of Melbourne's Data, Systems and Society Research Network conference on unstructured data (2019).

His written essays address topics such as artificial intelligence (Artlink), online education (Frieze), the militarisation of universities (in Contestations: Learning from Critical Experiments in Education), book scanning (Fillip), traffic control (Cabinet), and radio (Volume).

The Public School (for Architecture), in partnership with common room, was awarded The New York Prize Fellowship by the Van Alen Institute and was supported by the performance biennial, Performa. As a research fellow at the Post-Media Lab at Leuphana University, he explored the physical infrastructure of the sharing economy, focusing on Facebook's northern European datacenter.

His practice-led PhD at the University of Melbourne, Performing Algorithms: Automation and Accident investigated how artists might stage encounters with the algorithms driving our post-industrial, big-data-based, automatic society. Through a series of expanded lecture performances, it sought to discover ways in which to advance new critical positions within a totalizing technical apparatus whose very design preempts it. Between reappraisals of generative art and glitch - two approaches favored by technologically engaged artists - the project identified “not working” as both accident and a condition of labour under automation. The research offers an expanded notion of the essay, understood not as a form confined to the printed page but as a methodology expanded to lecture performances, installations, videos, chatbots, and neural networks, where writing, scripting, and coding interweave. Such essays collapse distanced description in order to set the algorithmic machines into motion.

In 2020, with James Parker, and researcher/ curator/ artist Joel Stern, Dockray founded Machine Listening Curriculum, a critical platform for research, sharing, and artistic experimentation, focused on new and emerging forms of listening grounded in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Education/Academic qualification

Visual Art, PhD, Performing Algorithms: Automation and Accident, University of Melbourne

Award Date: 25 Nov 2019

Design | Media Arts, MFA, Applause Collection, University of California Los Angeles

Award Date: 1 Jun 2005

Civil Engineering (Architecture), B.S.E., Containment: The Architecture of the 1967 Newark Riots, Princeton University

Award Date: 1 Jun 1999