Thresholds are locations of transitions, points where one modality becomes another, where a qualitative change occurs. In the context of algorithms, we may find multiple thresholds that could reveal something about the dynamics unfolded by the algorithmic. For example, given as pairs: plausible/implausible; agency/non-agency; computable/incomputable, each of these pairs can be understood from a threshold perspective.

  • Plausibility is a way for us to rationalise something for which we do not have hard evidence, it is a way of dealing with uncertainty. The uncertainty returns as the transition from plausible to implausible is approached. A former belief is thrown into doubt. For instance, sound installation artist Max Neuhaus uses this transition to create a critical awareness for his interventions in passersby.
  • Agency denotes an entity's active shaping of the environment it is embedded in, while non-agency may be a state of ignorance or mere reaction to input and external control.
  • Computable are those states which cause a process to terminate, whereas incomputable are solutions which escape an a priori definition (an exhaustive encoding) and are thus at the core of processes which produce surplus value or “excess”.

meta: true
date: Jun-2018
event: Thresholds
place: Lydgalleriet

keywords: [thresholds, transitions, change, algorithms, plausibility, implausible, agency, computable, incomputable]