Capture All: A Sonic Investigation

Image credit: Image courtesy of Laura McLean and Mehak Sawhney.

Key dates

Applications are now closed.

Event dates: April – August 2021

Websites: Liquid Architecture & Sarai

Amount: $1,500 per individual

Applications close: 15 January 2021

Applications close at 11:59pm AEDT on the closing date.

Notification:  10 February 2021

About this event

Australia Council for the Arts in partnership with Liquid Architecture (Melbourne) and Sarai (New Delhi) invite applications from applicants based in Australia and India for Capture All: A Sonic Investigation.

How might experimental practices of sound and listening be mobilised as resources for understanding and intervening in questions of power, capture, and extraction? What aesthetic and political possibilities emerge by investigating sonic practices in relation to both domestic and urban space and their network interfaces? 

Throughout 2021, Liquid Architecture (Melbourne) and Sarai (Delhi) will collaborate to support six artists, scholars, and writers based in Australia and India through a series of creative and critical workshops, intensives, and dialogues. Capture All sets out to investigate the sonic at a moment of accelerating surveillance capitalism that enmeshes individuals and communities in networks of capture and control. 

This opportunity is contextualised and grounded in Sarai’s pioneering work on critical questions of media and information, urbanism, infrastructure, media archaeology, data and law, the commons, and the public domain in South Asia, and in Liquid Architecture’s ongoing research project ‘Machine Listening, a curriculum’, a critical platform for writing, interviews, music and artworks investigating the dystopian and utopian effects of algorithmic, machinic, networked and technologised listening on our social and political lives. 

Capture All will consider Australia and India’s complex relationships to coloniality and extraction, and contemporary sonic transformations across physical and digital spaces in both countries. Within these contexts, we are interested in the ways user data is extracted, exploited, monetised, and used to govern user behaviour. Equally we are also interested in public and private sound; evolving uses of mobile phones and social media; the idea and reality of the ‘smart city’; uses of voice interfaces, biometrics, and sonic databases; forms of forensic listening; the economics of data-labour and listening-labour; the production and politics of artificial intelligence; music cultures and streaming; new acoustic ecologies; and sound and listening as modes of evasion and resistance.

In the midst of the profound mediatisation and turbulence of interpersonal relations - particularly in the wake of pandemic-induced lockdowns that have altered our online and offline, local and global engagements - this project aims to critically inhabit so-called ‘immaterial’ spaces and consider the value and agency of our online and offline togetherness. 

We are seeking expressions of interest from artists, scholars, musicians, programmers, and writers who are interested in how experimental practices of sound and listening can help us understand the entangled networks we live, work, and play in, and develop new forms of critique and intervention. The selected cohort will meet online for workshops, talks, readings, and listening sessions, facilitated by the curators and special guests. Each participant will be encouraged to develop an aspect of their practice or research related to these conversations, and supported in making a public presentation of their work at the conclusion of the program. It is intended that works, ideas, and research developed through Capture All will inform and connect with future iterations of Liquid Architecture’s Machine Listening program at the level of public outcomes.

Program partners

For the past 20 years, Liquid Architecture and Sarai have operated at the forefront of media and sound practice and research. 

Liquid Architecture has been Australia’s leading organisation for artists working with sound and listening. LA investigates the sounds themselves, but also the ideas communicated about, and the meaning of, sound and listening. Its program stages encounters and creates spaces for sonic experience, and critical reflection on sonority and systems of sonic affect. 

The Sarai Programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), has been South Asia’s most prominent and productive platform for research and reflection on the transformation of urban space and contemporary realities, especially with regard to cities, data and information, law, and media infrastructures.

Funding support

The level of funding support available is $1,500 AUD per participant for six participants. The program will support 3 applicants from Australia and 3 applicants from India. This is intended as a fee for workshop participation and related project research and development. Additional superannuation will be paid for Australian participants.


The Australia Council invites applications from individuals based in Australia and India with artistic, musical, research, writing and/or curatorial interests. 

Assessment Criteria

You are required to respond to the following assessment criteria:

  1. The impact of the project in developing future opportunities between Australia and India and enhancing relationships between the two countries.
  2. Demonstrated understanding of, and commitment to, discursive modes of research and practice.
  3. Evidence of an expanded understanding of listening and sound.
  4. The timeliness of this opportunity and a demonstrated ability to plan and deliver on any international outcomes that may arise.

Diversity and access

The Australia Council, Liquid Architecture and Sarai strongly encourage applications from applicants who identify as First Nations, from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds, people with disability, and people living in regional and remote areas.

Our programs and processes are designed for accessibility and best use by a diverse demographic. Please contact us at least 2 weeks prior to the closing date to discuss your access and support requirements.

Supporting material

A 500 word Expression of Interest (EOI) attached as a .doc or .pdf, maximum 2-page CV, and selected sample of work.

Assessment process

Australia Council staff in consultation with Liquid Architecture and Sarai will consider applications according to the assessment criteria above and will seek recommendations by industry advisors as needed.

You will be informed of the outcome of your application by 10 February 2021.

Program Curators

Laura McLean

Laura McLean is a Melbourne-based curator, writer, and researcher interested in the politics of representation and the representation of politics in contemporary art. 

Past curatorial projects include Civics, Maroondah Federation Estate Gallery, Melbourne (2020); Startup States, Sarai-CSDS, Delhi (2019); The Conversational Cosmos, West Space, Melbourne (2017); Planetary Gardening, Photo Access...

Learn more about Laura McLean.  

Mehak Sawhney

Mehak Sawhney is a Montréal-based researcher and activist with research interests in sound and media cultures of South Asia. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Communication Studies at McGill University where her doctoral project explores audio surveillance and the weaponization of sound and listening technologies in postcolonial India.

Learn more about Mehak Sawhney. 


Nithya Nagarajan, 
International Market Adviser, South and Southeast Asia 
Phone: (02) 9215 9324

Learn more about other available opportunities. 

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