- First, I should somehow define what I think the difference is
between the two.
1. I define an effect as a "function" of sorts, that given some
input arguments, computes an output. Yes, of course, in the ASMR
case, the function is particular to each human, but nevertheless
it enacts this "linear" correspondence. Effect is a function:
input -> effect.

2. Now what is an algorithm? There are numerous definitions which
can be found, but the most common in computer science could be
summarised: "Algorithm is the abstract representation of the set
of rules needed for solving a problem, the function is the actual
piece of code that implements it". As Hanns Holger has noted in his article /Agency and Algorithms/,this kind of definition falls short in capturing the specificity of the algorithmic, especially in the context of contemporary technological developments and their uses, which demand for a shift in this definitions. I believe the core of the algorithmic
is something radically different then the above: an algorithm is
inherently a process. This does not only mean that time is
necessary for it to to unfold, but that it is essentially a
/performative/ entity, that actually "lives" in time. In
contrast, a function is often seen as an immediate provider of
output: given input produce output: there is no time there. From
my perspective, the core of the algorithmic is strongly connected
with /iterativity/: /iterative/ computational process are those
for which their output is re-used for subsequent cycles of
computation. The oldest algorithms we know of, were formulated in
this way (e.g. the Babylonian algorithm for computing square
roots was of this kind).

{HHR, 03-Apr-2018}

Effect as 'function' might not capture the directionality of cause -> effect, though. I think 'process' + 'performativity' are very good questions to contemplate about. They seem qualified through an irreversibility (this is shared with 'effect', though). If that is what an aesthetic experience is also endowed with (process+performativity), here perhaps lies the alliance with the algorithmic.

As Hanns Holger, I wasn't aware of the ASMR phenomenon before Ron's
residency. Thank you for your links and video, these helped me a lot
in gaining an (of course partial) overview of the phenomenon. I tried
find the connections between ASMR and the ALMAT project (at least my
perspective on it) and your project. I came up with some
considerations. More a collection of reactions and ideas: mostly
thought as "triggers" for further discussion.

Responses DP 26-mar-2018

- The first definition of ASMR that I found, relates to a special kind
of sensual experience typically initiated by some auditive
stimulus. That is, through auditive stimulation, listeners
experience some sensual physiological effects broadly related to
touch sensations, which might cause, relaxation, euphoria,
well-being or even disgust and repulsion. Now, for me here is the
most problematic point of this. ASMR, in this definition, is
basically an /effect/ experienced by the viewers and listeners of
those youtube videos. And this is how I have experienced them: a
collection of various aural stimuli which aim (with success) at
giving different kinds of sensations. The underlying perspective
which is contained in these videos, I believe is that of a body, our
body, our perceptual apparatus, as a sort of "box" which, provided
with appropriate stimuli, gives a response, the physiological
effect: stimulus -> bodily elaboration -> physiological
effect. Providing the right stimuli, the aimed sensation is
"triggered". Now, my feeling is, that this mechanistic /effect/
perspective is actually opposite to something as an /algorithmic/
perspective. I will need two points to elaborate this.

- The next factor that plays a role in my previous statement, is that
I am strongly influenced by the /enactive approach/ to cognition and
perception (see for Example /Mind in Life/ by Evan Thompson for a
good reference), originated in the work of Varela and Maturana (/The
embodied Mind/) and connected with Merleau-Ponty's
/Phenomenology/. The literature is big and still growing as the
theme of embodiment and in particular enaction is not yet fully
exhausted and is not yet been (understood) and received in the
context of scientific and in particular technological research, even
if it is widely accepted not only in philosophy, but also in
neurosciences. Nevertheless, attempting to make a little "summa",
this approach rests on the observation that cognition is an emergent
phenomenon arising from a continuous interaction of a embodied
entity with its environment. Embodied here means that the perceptual
apparatus and the motor apparatus are also linked in a reciprocal
action-reaction relationship. That is, to perceive and to /think/
means to continuously act on the environment and collect the
environment's changes through the senses: these in turn inform the
motor system of the next actions and so on. Essentially perceiving
and thinking is an /algorithmic/ process (in the sense above): a
time dependent, environment coupled and situated process of
/continuous/ and evolving interaction. In this approach, cognition
is a sort of resonance that emerges from recurring patterns in this
temporal exchange: there are no (pre-given or not) /images/ or
/symbols/ representing the world in our "heads": everything is
/constructed/ departing from the mind and body co-interaction with
the environment. Mind and body are elements entangled in a network
of inextricable relationships between them (embodiment) and with the
environment (enaction). The environment comprising not only the
physical qualities of the world we are in, but also the social,
economical, technological etc. context of our lives.

- Concluding, I'm taking these comments as an occasion for initiating
a process of clarification both for me (understanding and
formulating what I mean by algorithmicity etc.) and hopefully for
you. I see this process as just a "partial": it should be
complemented by works, aesthetic artefacts. Nevertheless, it is I
believe an important step.

- I find your idea of (I rephrase, I hope you agree) "tapping into the
algorithmicity of bodies through the algorithmicity embodied in
technological artefacts" very interesting. Still, I would like to
understand how you intend this algorithmicity. My own "definition",
or thoughts about it are my personal: you might agree or disagree. I
just have the impression that this needs to be somehow addressed, as
Hanns Holger also suggested.

{HHR, 03-Apr-2018}

I would even go as far as trying to undo 'body and mind', as a dual; why not imagine there is no mind, and there are just bodies.

P.S. Perhaps another loose follow-up. It just occurred to me the genre that was called Electronic Body Music. Isn't it funny how the body works? ⬀https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTsi2-mBAdA And works and works....

Another bookmark: Title of the last Orpheus book (J. Impett, ed.) - "Discipline and Resistance". Those are two very interesting concepts to work with...

{HHR, 03-Apr-2018}

ecolog(y|ies) is a very useful term to think about performativity I think

- Something that struck me is that the recorded sounds lack "space":
there is no or surprisingly very little hint as to the space in
which the recordings took place. Not clear what this "means"; this
might hint to a further, extreme removal of the context, the
environment, the embedding dimension in which the phenomenon takes
place. Another hint of the non-embodied, non-situated,
non-algorithmic thinking implicit in ASMR.

- So, I see ASMR, given the /effect/ or /functional/ aspect I read
into the phenomenon in opposition to an algorithmic standpoint, a
sort of regression with respect to those approaches (ecological
approaches in general) which open different perspectives: from this
view the /triggering -> effect/ paradigma does not refer to an
enactive and algorithmic perspective. I think, in the end, ASMR
hides an understanding of the human body as a machine.

So (in simple words...), given these points above (and acknowledging
that I might have not understood something essential), I think that
what want to ask you is: /what is the idea of algorithmic you employ
to when you establish a link between ASMR and an algorithmic body?/

Maybe ASMR is not the "right" entry point for your project (as Hanns
Holger also suggests), but still I think we could use this
discussion in trying to find out and maybe better formulate what we
"mean" by e.g. algorithimc, etc. At least, this what I'm trying to
do here.

---
meta: true
author: DP

persons: [HHR, DP]
function: response
date: 190326

keywords: [ASMR, ALMAT, enactivism, perception, algorithmic, cognition]
---

{HHR, 03-Apr-2018}

I agree, indeed I thought both that in the sounds produced and in the whispering voice are examples of what Dyson says about the metaphysical / decontaminated sound - anechoic and without sonority; although one might argue that the 'anaerobic' quality is more ambivalent here.

{HHR, 03-Apr-2018}

I guess ASMR could be a "site" from which practices are developed. It could still be a useful detonator for experimentation IMO.

- BUT, there is something algorithmic about ASMR. As I have
understood, ASMR is more a /social phenomenon/ built around the
iterative enactment of situations which trigger specific
physiological effect. The algorithmic is less in the effect
itself (for me it's boring after a while), but in the unfolding
process which develops a community around a common but somehow
exclusive experience, the process of the social construction of a
group of people which can identify themselves as "different" in some
way, as by having some sort of re-iterated (algorithmic!) "rituals"
which in themselves celebrate repetition. This whole process is an
algorithm, a social algorithm, that I believe is not so different
from those at the basis of most religions and ideologies. This
algorithimicity is for me actually the interesting part: it seems
(is?) a sort of very deeply rooted human inkling to adhere, join,
strengthen and protect social constructs in general.

Particularly evident in the case of ASMR is, as noted by you and in
some of the articles you linked, is how this process revolves around
a shared /fetish/, the ASMR effect. This aspect make it difficult
for me to understand the ASMR social phenomenon as "citizen
science" : science, at least in the popularly accepted meaning of it,
tends to achieve some sort of understanding, some formulation or
explanation of something. That is not the case for ASMR. And it
actually /cannot/ be the case: reaching this understanding would
mean to transform the fetish in something different and therefore
actually remove the core from the movement itself. No, the fetish
should remain such, magical, not understood, untouchable: a "black
box".

- I believe that this kind of reduction of the instruments we operate
with (computers in this case) to something purely functional, that
is not allowed to have a specificity or a materiality of its own,
that this perception we (humans) employ towards other "things"
(historically also other humans) in our environment is part of
/habitus/ radicated in us. I know that of course, this has its good
(economical etc.) reasons, but I would to know more about how this
process of "objectification" is performed, how it "works". This
"objectification", in our present technological society is also
often applied also to our own bodies.

{HHR, 03-Apr-2018}

(my blue highlights)

also: etymology esoteric - belonging to a select circle (although it is speculation what size the circle has)

{HHR, 03-Apr-2018}

On the other hand, there is a contraction here; we cannot say that both there is a uniformity towards the audience, which "functions" with respect to a given pro-gram, and then to add that there is a self-selection in the audience, determining whether an "effect" takes place or not.

Perhaps it is good to rethink David's remarks on process and performativity, how these essentially conjoint and reciprocated things will be reflected in your work and experimentation. How can a particular response of somebody be meaningfully informing the work.

A question to David would be, how, at this stage with the given thoughts and materials, you could see your process implied; what could be "duplication practice", for example, where you and Erin follow for a day or a while a similar "tactic" or movement. (Perhaps it is too early to ask that, but maybe some hypotheses can take contour already)

- In the comment to Hanns Holger's thought you write:

"During the fordist era the metaphor of the body as a "machine" or
an "assemblage" was popular, whereas now people are scurrying to
understand how our mind is actually like a grand computer or
algorithm."

Yes, computational (computationalist) approaches to cognition are
the widespread especially in AI research etc. But, in may opinion,
those approaches share the fordist era metaphors of human body and
mind as "machine"-like. It is just that the machine has become the
computer. The mind is equated to an elaborator of external input
into some symbolic representation. This concept of computer,
computation and algorithmicity is, I believe, very different to the
one I have sketched above. And distant to ideas of algorithmicity,
for example, of Luciana Parisi, who sees algorithms as possessing an
incompressible performative agency proper to them. The computational
approaches to cognition instead usually see the mind as a computer,
as a machine whose algorithm is basically a problem solving
algorithm: given the input the algorithm computes some
solution. There is no agency here, this is "just" a function.

In a way, this what ASMR does, there is not much difference there.