Module processes




Theoretical background

The work, a series of "modules" that can be exhibited in isolation or dialogue, explores the relationship between corporeality and the algorithmic, realised as an environmentally aware, sensitive installation combining the modalities of sound and moving image. Despite the absence of locomotion, there are perhaps complementary ways an electric body could renegotiate, with whomever it encounters, its shape and presence?

A body is not only occupying space, but it continuously reproduces space and presence in negotiation with other bodies. It thus touches upon the problem of individuality and how, as a living and not a dead body, it “presupposes a plurality of other forms in relation to it” (Canguilhem 2008 [1952], 106).

Computational process, on the other hand, can also be understood to occupy abstract spaces which are interwoven with physiological spaces. What does it mean that a body is living or alive, when we attribute corporeality to computational processes? Surely, we do not want to be trapped by the assumption that we could even remotely “model” human or animal bodies, which seems as problematic as equating computational process with disembodied brains or the mind (cf. Dreyfus 1972). Instead, what we call bodies are configurations that partially explore what bodily qualities could possibly emerge from a digital–physical assemblage, with the aim of eventually bringing these partials together and thus “fulfil” in a certain way the requisite plurality of forms.

The bodies we create and experiment with should become entities that not just passively receive and process stimuli, but that actively sound out their surroundings, ringing them out for interventions. These interventions are multi-modal, for example incorporating sound and vision, but also ultra-sound as a tactile medium. The bodies absorb and process impulses passing through their environment and emit sensible variations of responses. Instead of searching for the definite form that satisfies this criterion, the modularity is meant to allow us to implement and “prototype” ideas such that modules can be iterated over time, and iteration may also take place by accepting a “partial” module and moving forward to an additional module. In other words, the idea of the body re-enters the work as a structuring principle, allowing us to “create a body of works”, to give us space and presence to experiment.

David Pirrò & Hanns Holger Rutz 2018



  • Canguilhem, Georges. “The Living and Its Milieu”. In: Knowledge of Life, edited by Paola Marrati and Todd Meyers, translated by Stefanos Geroulanos and Daniela Ginsburg, pp. 98–120. New York: Fordham University Press, 2008 [original published 1952].
  • Dreyfus, Hubert. What Computers Can’t Do: A Critique of Artificial Reason. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.