Algorithms that Matter (Almat) is an artistic research project by Hanns Holger Rutz and David Pirrò. It aims at understanding the increasing influence of algorithms, translating them into aesthetic positions in sound. It builds a new perspective on algorithm agency by subjecting the realm of algorithms to experimentation and diffractive reading.
Almat was running from 2017 to 2021, within the framework of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) – PEEK AR 403-GBL – and funded by the Austrian National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development (FTE) and by the State of Styria. It is hosted by the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics (IEM) at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.
The project is grounded in the idea that algorithms are agents that co-determine the boundary between an artistic machine or “apparatus” and the object produced through this machine. The central question is: How do algorithmic processes emerge and structure the praxis of experimental computer music? The hypothesis is that, instead of being separated from the composer—generators and transformers of infinite shapes—they exhibit a specific force that retroacts and changes the very praxis of composition and performance. Algorithms are no longer an abstract formalisation, the image of thought, static and timeless. They emerge from praxis and experimentation, become entangled in material processes that produce space and time.