ALMAT - Algorithms that Matter

ALMAT - Algorithms that Matter

Artistic Research Project

David Pirrò, Hanns Holger Rutz

Algorithms that Matter (Almat) is an artistic research project by Hanns Holger Rutz and David Pirrò. It aims at understanding the increasing influence of algorithms, translating them into aesthetic positions in sound. It builds a new perspective on algorithm agency by subjecting the realm of algorithms to experimentation and diffractive reading.

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.

Project Page

ALMAT - at Impuls Academy 2017


David Pirrò, Hanns Holger Rutz, and Agostino Di Scipio

February 11th-19th, 2017, IEM Graz

ALMAT . Algorithms That Matter

Algorithms That Matter (ALMAT) focuses on the experimentation with algorithms and their embedding in live performances. Rather than conceiving algorithms as established building blocks (“live electronics”) or the formalisation of a compositional idea (“algorithmic composition”), we look at them as performing entities whose consequences are irreducible to models. Algorithms “matter” in the sense that matter and meaning cannot be distinguished, they may be moulded and they may unfold material in an ecosystemic way: Materials become a new source for transformation.

This workshop seeks to attract computer music practitioners, sound artists and composers by offering a platform for exchange and reflection about their personal approaches towards algorithmic experimentation. The participants are enabled to further develop their approaches, where special emphasis is given to the reciprocal coupling of their respective systems. The workshop starts with an internal presentation of the participants for the other participants and tutors, followed by an in-depth analysis and discussion of the different approaches. The rest of the workshop takes a semi-structured form, open to adaptation to the interests of the participants. Focus will be on the mutual engagement and the production of connecting points between systems, using both data and sound links. At the end, concert slots within the impuls festival are allocated for the participants to present either existing works or new works developed during the workshop.

The workshop will be held at the CUBE performance space of the Institute for Electronic Music and Acoustics (IEM). The CUBE is equipped with a 24-channels periphonic loudspeaker setup for advanced sound spatialisation and an 18-cameras infra-red motion capture system allowing bodily motion to be used as input for sound synthesis and processing.

The workshop Almat was developed by David Pirrò and Hanns Holger Rutz (both IEM Graz) and will be realised together with Agostino Di Scipio.


impuls 2017 - ALMAT

Selected participants for this program:

  • Alyssa Aska
  • Laura Endres
  • A. Fernández Rodríguez
  • Davide Gagliardi
  • Brian Garbet
  • Phivos-Angelos Kollias
  • Frédéric Le Bel
  • Matteo Polato

From Data to Process


From Data to Process: Algorithms that Matter, Hanns Holger Rutz, David Pirrò and Agostino Di Scipio, Perspectives and project launch


Algorithms that Matter (Almat) is a three-year FWF-funded artistic research project (AR 403) run by Hanns Holger Rutz and David Pirrò at the IEM Graz. It asks how algorithmic processes emerge and structure the praxis of experimental computer music. What we are interested in is to rethink algorithms as agents co-determining the boundary between an artistic machine or “apparatus” and the object produced through this machine. Unravelling the seemingly stable notion of algorithm, we look at the way an experimental culture in which the work with algorithms is embedded shapes our understanding of it, retroacts and changes the very praxis of composition and performance. Using as dispositifs two distinct software systems we have created, SoundProcesses and rattle, we implement a series of connected experiments, addressing research questions such as: What are the “units” of algorithms, in what way can they be de- and recomposed, what is the nature of their affordances and material traces, how can they be preserved and inform the methodology of artistic research? Special focus is put on the reconfiguration of elements, such as relaying a system to another artist/composer, and we work with a number of invited guest artists to explore the different algorithmic perspectives.

In From Data to Process, Rutz, Pirrò, and collaboration partner Agostino Di Scipio introduce the project and strategies to pursue, when data remains incomputable and algorithms become forms of process.

Figure 2: Copyright Michael Schwab
Figure 3: Copyright Michael Schwab
Figure 4: Copyright Michael Schwab

Author: David Pirrò

Created: 2022-03-12 Sat 00:11