Space Material Detail

Understanding space is a basic precondition, not just for architecture, but also for our lived environment. According to this perspective, architecture is not just about buildings filling up space, but about the production of space.

Algorithms and Space

The iterative nature of algorithms, their provisions of repetition and the possibility to rerun them, lead to a straight concept of algorithmic space, as the breadth and organisation of all the forms they are able to produce. However, we assume that algorithmic space is not primarily the result of form generation but of an intrinsic speculative movement of the algorithmic and its interaction with humans who write code and experiment with it. Therefore, making visible and audible the exchange processes between humans and machines becomes a means of critically articulating this space. Data and algorithms are not only operating machines, but they increasingly influence our thoughts and actions, and consequently art and science. The departure point for the course Space Material Detail are algorithmic elements, created within the context of the project Algorithms that Matter that provides an open source for inspiration, exploration and manipulation. Some elements of software, sound and graphics can be translated into models to the (physical) three-dimensional space in order to create an installative experience of space(s).

Art, Science, Technology

Art cannot directly solve the problems of society, but it can give people some kind of sense for ambivalences and a sense for empathy. These senses are basic preconditions for living in a multicultural and highly diverse society, otherwise prone to controversies. In his new book “buildings and dwellings _ Ethics for the City”, Richard Sennett describes the necessity to combine the built city with the lived city and to deal with it in a way of correlation, that means to develop soft skills and to create lively situations around buildings and cities. Therefore, we have to constantly think of the process of transfer from the living to architecture and vice versa. Plurality, diversity and flexibility are part of the public sphere and influence architectural decisions, as well as decisions in urban planning. Urbanity means diversity. To be conscious about this correlation means to generate spaces for transformation and transfer.

Transfer is communication and also understanding the structure of thing and matters. This workshop aims to understand the transfer of sound generated by algorithmic methods into three-dimensional models of the space we are working with. Space Material Detail will be an experiment to create a spatial structure based in sounds, the transfer of soft elements into physical models which are somehow hard parameters.


08.–12.04.2019 : Workshop
May/June 2020 : Exhibition
esc media art lab, Graz

work in progress!

Nayarí Castillo-Rutz, MFA. | | Institute of Spatial Design TUG

Franziska Hederer, Dr.DI | Institute of Spatial Design TUG

David Pirrò, PhD | | Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics KUG

Hanns Holger Rutz, PhD | | Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics KUG

Jamilla Balint, Dipl.-Ing. |

Markus Metz | Georg Seeßlen

MAST Comittee |

Algorithms that Matter – FWF PEEK AR 403-GBL |


1. Introduction (Mon 8 April)

10:00 – 11:30 Introduction to Algorithmic Space | lecture by F. Hederer and N. Castillo-Rutz

11:45 – 13:15 On Rendering Algorithms | presentation and hands-on with H.H. Rutz
H.H. Rutz has been interested in the materiality of digital signal processing for many years. It views digital data, whether it is sound, image or moving image, as a radically atomised set of numbers which may undergo analyses and transformations irrespective of their physical modalities. For the workshop, Rutz will prepare a group of programs to be installed on the participants' computers, and participants can use their own materials and experiment with parameters to obtain sources for the construction of spatial concepts.

14:15 – 15:30 Threading time and space : Performing Algorithms | lecture by D. Pirrò
In David's understanding of experimental computation, algorithms become performing entities that attune both with a speculative mode of thinking and an enactive mode of cognition. This lecture will seek ways to introduce this perspective into a working practice that departs from a strictly digital embedding of algorithms.

16:00 – 18:00 Team building and independent working time

2. Investigate the Space (Tue 9 April)

10:00 – 11:00 About Installations | lecture by N. Castillo-Rutz
N. Castillo-Rutz works as a researcher and artist in the fields of installations, collaboration and spatial design. In her lecture she elaborates on personal experience and current artists.

11:00 – 11.30 Introduction to esc medien kunst labor | Reni Hofmüller
About the working space esc medien kunst labor, Dos and Don’ts

11:30 – 19:00 Elaborating first ideas, working on models and sketching

14:00 – 15:30 Sound Materials | lecture by J. Balint
J. Balint works as a researcher in the interdisciplinary fields of acoustics and architecture. In her lecture she will talk about the perception of space within the auditory dimension and the sonic environment as an augmented design tool.

3. Developing Methods (Wed 10 April)

10:00 – 11:00 Jour-Fixe

11:00 – 17:00 All day research, planning and construction of an algorithmic space.

17:00 – 18:30 Reading Circle

19:00 Back to the Future | presentation by Markus Metz, Georg Seeßlen
With this eloquent and monumental critique of society, the Bavarian duo Metz/Seeßlen leads us from the passive comprehension of existing technical and sociopolitical changes to active resistance to the same. (DE)

4. Elaborating (Thu 11 April)

10:00 – 11:00 Jour-Fixe

11:00 – 17:00 Adapting ideas and making improvements of design. Preparing a documentation brochure and finishing the models and setup.

 17:00 – 18:00  Critic with the MAST faculty

 18:30  Joint dinner at esc medien kunst labor

5. Preparing the Exhibition (Fri 12 April)

10:00 – 11:00 Jour-Fixe

11:00 – 15:00 Printing of the Brochure and final touches.

15:00 16:00 Reflection

19:00 Exhibition / open to the public

Three main outcomes of the week long workshop:

  • A 1:50 scale model for an installation in dialogue with sound and algorithms
  • A brochure documenting the process of creation
  • A proposal for detail-sound-material to be used as construction part for the installation. Some of the projects or some of the ideas are to be used for the exhibition in 2020.