Sean Dockray’s ‘Listening to  the Diagnostic Ear’

17 Sep 2020

The Ian Potter Museum of Art commissioned Sean Dockray to develop an online artwork for the MACHINE Interdisciplinary Forum.

The commissioned work, Listening to the Diagnostic Ear, engages with some questions – what can a cough tell us? What can a cough tell about us? More than a few medical/entrepreneurial projects, which are collecting and analysing coughs in order to diagnose COVID-19, have appeared over the past few months. These projects appeared suddenly, all at once, like symptoms of an underlying condition. When a project such as this is finally realised as an AI Doctor, it will confront us as a diagnostic ear, listening to the noises we make to recognise what can’t be heard, what we don’t even know about ourselves. In Listening to the Diagnostic Ear, we listen back, by listening to one dataset of coughs that the machine is learning from. What is this ear learning from these coughs? What can a cough tell us?

You can view and activate Listening to the Diagnostic Ear here. Make sure your sound is on.

Sean Dockray
Listening to the Diagnostic Ear 2020
website, machine learning dataset
Courtesy the artist
Commissioned by Ian Potter Museum of Art for the MACHINE Interdisciplinary Forum, 2020