Symposium Home

Artists and scientists have worked with digital computers for over seventy years, and algorithmic practices exist for a lot longer. But in recent years, increased computing power and decreased costs and miniaturisation of machines have created a new quantity and quality of everyday exposure, economic and political criticality, and with it a wave of public attention and discourse. As artists-researchers, how do we incorporate this new situation into our practices, and more importantly, how does this changed situation retroact on our understanding of the role of digital art, sound art and artistic practice itself?


Rather than understanding algorithms as existing and transparent tools, the ALMAT Symposium is interested in their genealogical, processual aspects 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 project ALMAT - Algorithms that Matter. ALMAT is an artistic research project by Hanns Holger Rutz and David Pirrò funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF AR 403-GBL) and hosted by the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics (IEM) at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz. The project started in 2017, and over the past years has developed a series of case studies, research iterations, and accompanying workshops and meetings, of which the Symposium 2020 is a major concluding event.

ALMAT 2020 will 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. xCoAx has issued a separate call for participation – – and reduced combi-tickets are available for xCoAx + ALMAT (see Registration).

Important Dates

  • Submission deadline: January 31, 2020 EXTENDED: February 18, 2020 (24:00 CET)
  • Notifications of Acceptance: March 24, 2020
  • Registration Deadline: May 3, 2020
  • Symposium: July 6 & 7, 2020


There is a "flat" registration fee for all participants of the symposium of €50. You may register as an author or interested audience. The fee includes catering throughout the event. All students and doctoral students of KUG Graz are exempt from the fee. We encourage you to consider attending the adjoining xCoAx conference. In this case, you can make your xCoAx registration and add a discounted ALMAT Symposium ticket of €30.

Registrations will open after the notifications of the reviews in March 2020.

We offer free child care service through the university. If you would like to use it, please get in touch with us when you register, as the contingent is limited.

Current Situation of the Coronavirus Crisis

After some assessment, we tentatively hold on to the event date 06–07 July, but we will make a final decision in mid-April whether it will be feasible to go ahead at the scheduled time, travels will be possible etc. Updates will be published to the website and the ALMAT mailing list as soon as possible.

Exhibition Parcours 'Algorithmic Segments'

When visiting Graz in July 2020, you will have the opportunity to see and hear a number of sound and digital art exhibitions and activities, assembled under the umbrella project 'Algorithmic Segments'.


The main venue of ALMAT 2020 is MUMUTH (House of Music and Music Theatre), a building of the University of Music and Performing Arts (KUG). The easiest way to reach it is with tram 1 or 7, stop Lichtenfelsgasse/Kunstuniversität. A single ticket costs €2.50 and is valid in trams and buses for one hour after validation. Tickets can be bought inside the tram or from the bus driver. Jakominiplatz is the central hub for all tram lines. If you limit your route to Jakominiplatz and Hauptplatz plus one extra stop in either direction, you can travel for free on the tram (stops included are designated by the sticker "Altstadt Bim"). For example, you can take the tram between Kunsthaus (contemporary arts museum) and Kaiser-Josef-Platz (an 8 minute walk away from MUMUTH). Tram and bus information at