Almat 2020 - symposium on algorithmic agency in artistic practice
Hanns Holger Rutz, David Pirrò, Daniele Pozzi
The ALMAT 2020 Symposium is interested in the genealogical, processual aspects of algorithms and their transformative potential. We seek critical approaches that avoid both mystification and commodification, that aim at opening the black box of "wonder" that is often presented to the public when utilising algorithms. We depart from the assumption that algorithms possess an inherent material agency that emerges from the intra-action between human and machine (K. Barad). In these exchange processes, we experience gaps, breaks and bends in the flow, the reconfigurative nature of the algorithmic which bounces back and reconfigures our thinking and approach to artistic work. When algorithms are inserted in the creative process, they actively shape this process and spread outside the boundaries of a particular medium or artefact. The symposium looks to rethink the relation between humans and algorithms (N.K. Hayles) in terms of an organic or ecological perspective (Y. Hui) in which actors are entangled and co-generative.
The foundation for the symposium is given by the eponymous artistic research project ALMAT - Algorithms that Matter, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF AR 403-GBL) and hosted at the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics (IEM) at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.
ALMAT 2020 was originally planned to take place (06–07 July) adjoining the 8th Conference on Computation, Communication, Aesthetics & X – xCoAx (08–10 July). xCoAx is an exploration of the intersection where computational tools and media meet art and culture, in the form of a multi-disciplinary enquiry on aesthetics, computation, communication and the elusive X factor that connects them all. Due to the Coronavirus crisis, xCoAx is going into an online-only mode, and the ALMAT symposium has been replaced by an online assemblage of the submitted proposals only.
N.N-Zwischenliegend - a progressive investigation into errors/eine fortlaufende Untersuchung zu Fehlern
„N.N-Zwischenliegend“: Ich forsche zum Thema "Paradoxität" in einer Kunst (Praxis und Theorie) von einer Dokumentation (Realität) – Zeit, Raum und Körper.
Eine künstlerische empirische Forschung. Diese Kunst-Forschung ist die Fortsetzung von der Kunst-Forschung „still/silent“ (This artistic research is the continuation of the artistic research "still/silent").
Erster Teil ist N.N-Zwischenliegend - a progressive investigation into errors/eine fortlaufende Untersuchung zu Fehlern (in der Bildwissenschaft und Ästhetik), diese Forschung geht es nicht um digitale photographische Technik, sondern um digitale photographische Technik und experimental Photography heute, und um (Neo-) Repräsentationstheorie (Multimodalität und experimental Dokumentation) :
In part of my artistic research in the N.N-Zwischenliegend project – namely digital photography – I am investigating the potentiality of inspiring errors and imperfection, employing three research methods. First, according to the definition, “errors” in this artistic research are not intentional, but rather are created in the concept by chance due to natural phenomena in the digital camera. In the concept of experimental documentary photography of N.N-Zwischenliegend, I did not try to photograph things (Dinge) and objects (Gegenstände) only, but rather I tried to grasp temporal and spatial depth as well as the potentiality of the natural phenomenon. I have implemented this idea in an image with photographic techniques and double exposure, whereby these photographs were combined in the same documentary photo series. Second, I examine the photos for errors from the perspective of different disciplines such as photochemistry, physics, phenomenology, cognitive science, science of images, philosophy, and psychology to reflect whether there are flaws or gaps in the entire N.N-Zwischenliegend series. Third, in the N.N-Zwischenliegend project, I deal with the image as an error or gap with the philosophical reflection on the theme of “estrangement” in the photographic perspective as a narration.
If the potential of the fault opened up to us, and if the error thus contributed to an “elasticity” of consciousness or the illusion of depth, I thus question the paradox of seeing in arts, which refers to the question: "Could the fault inspire us in this sense?". To answer this question, in this article I connect to the evolution of consciousness from the perspective of psychology and neuroscience. “The AST (Attention Scheme Theory) covers a lot of ground, from simple nervous systems to simulations of self and others. It provides a general framework for understanding consciousness, its many adaptive uses, and its gradual and continuing evolution.”1 At the same time, it deals with the question of experimental or digital photography today, its perfection and errors in both the world of artistic photography as well as digital culture.
1: Graziano, Michael, A New Theory Explains How Consciousness Evolved - A neuroscientist on how we came to be aware of ourselves, The Atlantic, June 2016.