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The iteration with Ron Kuivila was embedded in Algorithms that Matter (ALMAT). ALMAT is a three-year project running from 2017 to 2020, 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.

Main Events 


This page begins with documentation of the work I did at the IEM.

Below that is where those projects went in the ensuing months.  Listening to the Air was expanded into an ensemble piece for three and was performed by Michael Johnsen, Ralph Jones, and myself at the Kitchen.  A fixed version of the Fifth Root of Two was prepared for a performance at the International Gamelan Festival in Solo, Indonesia.  

As I continue to consider the shaping force of algorithms I notice that once ephemeral and hard to find traces of vanguard arts are increasingly easy to find on line. It strikes me that this 'data' offers momentary resistance to 

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26 Jan 2018, IEM, Graz

Ron Kuivila performed his solo live electronics piece Listening To The Air, exploiting the particular directional character of ultrasound to create a tangible open air synthesizer. He also presented The Fifth Root Of Two, a 24 channels sound installation derived from his fascination with the musical procedures of Javanese gamelan.

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SC Meeting

20 Jan 2018, IEM, Graz

During the third SuperCollider meeting hosted by the IEM Ron presented his work with the pattern library, and exposed the different possibilities offered by functional vs. imperative programming in music composition. He also introduced his work with ultrasound.

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Ron Kuivila

Iteration 1


Almat's methodology is based on iterative reconfiguration. A configuration encompasses the members of the team, Hanns Holger Rutz and David Pirrò, an invited guest artist along with a proposal within which she or he works, a "machinery", including two software systems developed by Rutz (SoundProcesses) and Pirrò (rattle), and possibly more systems brought into the experiment by the guest artists, which we aim to couple and to explore from different perspectives. An iteration takes the form of an online preparation phase, in which the core team and the guest artist engage in a dialogue about their practice and their relation to Almat, as well as the specific preparation of a two months residency period, in which algorithmic sound studies are developed in situ at the IEM in Graz.


The first iteration is conducted with composer, installation artist and computer music pioneer Ron Kuivila (USA). This research catalogue entry documents our work process.

background and topics

Coming from the american experimental tradition, Ron's approach is grounded on a radical understanding of experimentalism in music that, in his own words, 'departs from the exploration of non-standard structuring principles to constantly rethink orderings and relations in sound'. Through his art he aims at finding and provoking alternative ways of listening and perceiving, by experimenting with the mechanisms of cognition and attention. To investigate these dynamics, he often follows a minimalistic approach as a way to 'remove distractions' and to concentrate on specific aspects of listening.

During his residency he mainly focused on developing a new work based on a feedback system formed by ultrasound emitters and receivers, that he likes to call 'an open air synthesizer'.

A second work, a 24 channels generative sound installation composed for the CUBE's hemisphere, was mainly based on the SuperCollider pattern library. Ron says that this algorithmic tool is 'great for hearing possibilities, for quickly exploring what’s going on within a particular formal scheme'. As a counter experiment Hanns Holger translated part of this algorithmic system in his own framewrok, SoundProcesses/Mellite. This highlighted some crucial differences between the two software environments.




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Ron's main workspace was the experimental studio at the Institute for Electronic Music and Acoustic, Graz.