Halting Operations for Algorithmic Alignment

Hanns Holger Rutz



Departing from the discourse on whether a specific (social, ethical) responsibility is attached to the creation and manipulation of algorithms, this article questions the prerequisite of having an identity of algorithms to which that responsibility could be attached. After showing that such identity is partly fictional due to the fact that algorithms are connected to other algorithms and their identity is always a selective reading of a series of transitions through which algorithms come into existence, the perspective is shifted to the algorithmic as the medium of algorithms and as the actual agential domain. This shift translates responsibility into the ability to respond to otherness and non-identity through sensitive forms of alignment. Comparing the algorithmic with the desiring-machines of Deleuze and Guattari, this article proposes that its dynamics of flows and interruptions could be artistically reflected as halting operations that controvert the superficial evaluation of algorithms, for example under the classical decision problem or halting problem. A possible strategy for making the inner dynamics perceivable is proposed through a balancing act between the credible and the incredible, the plausible and the implausible.


Algorithms, Identity, Alignment, Desiring-Machines.

Full Text:



Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham & London: Duke University Press.


Blass, A., Dershowitz, N. & Gurevich, Y. (2009). When are two algorithms the same? Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 15(2), 145–168. doi:10.2178/bsl/1243948484


Böhnert, M. & Reszke, P. (2015). Linguistisch-philosophische Untersuchungen zu Plausibilität: Über kommunikative Grundmuster bei der Entstehung von wissenschaftlichen Tatsachen. In J. Engelschalt & A. Maibaum (Eds.), Auf der Suche nach den Tatsachen: Proceedings der 1. Tagung des Nachwuchsnetz-werks INSIST (pp. 40–67). Berlin.

Bruls, M., Huizing, K. & van Wijk, J. J. (2000). Squarified Treemaps. In Data Visualization 2000. Proceedings of the Joint EUROGRAPHICS and IEEE TCVG Symposium on Visualization (pp. 33–42). doi:10.1007/978-3-7091-6783-0_4


Castillo, N., Grossegger, G. & Rutz, H. H. (2017). schwärmen + vernetzen. Transdisziplinäres Kunstprojekt. Lichtungen. Zeitschrift für Literatur, Kunst und Zeitkritik, 38(151), 155–170.

Chaitin, G. J. (1982). Gödel's theorem and information. International Journal of Theoretical Physics, 21(12), 941–954. doi:10.1007/BF02084159


Deleuze, G. (1994). Difference and Repetition (P. Patton, Trans.). New York: Columbia University Press. (Original work published 1968)

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1983). Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and schizophrenia (R. Hurley, M. Seem & H. R. Lane, Trans.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Downey, G. L., Dumit, J. & Williams, S. (1995). Cyborg anthropology. Cultural Anthropology, 10(2), 264–269. doi:10.1525/can.1995.10.2.02a00060


Gurevich, Y. (2012). What is an algorithm? In International conference on current trends in theory and practice of computer science (pp. 31–42). doi:10.1007/978-3-642-27660-6_3


Nake, F. (2010). Paragraphs on computer art, past and present. In Proceedings of CAT 2010 London Conference (pp. 55–63). London.

Neuhaus, M. (1994). Notes on place and moment. In Inscription. sound works volume 1 (pp. 97–101). Ostfildern: Cantz Verlag. (Original work published 1993)

Parisi, L. (2013). Contagious architecture: Computation, aesthetics, and space. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Rheinberger, H.-J. (1997). Toward a History of Epistemic Things: Synthesizing Proteins in the Test Tube. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.

Rheinberger, H.-J. (2011). Infra-experimentality: From traces to data, from data to patterning facts. History of Science, 49(3), 337–348. doi:10.1177/007327531104900306


Rutz, H. H. (2012). Sound Similarity as Interface between Human and Machine in Electroacoustic Composition. In Proceedings of the 38th international computer music conference (pp. 212–219). Ljubljana. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.bbp2372.2012.039

Rutz, H. H. (2016). Agency and algorithms. Journal of Science and Technology of the Arts (CITAR), 8(1), 73–83. doi:10.7559/citarj.v8i1.223


Rutz, H. H. (Ed.). (2017). Imperfect Reconstruction. An algorithmic project by Lisa Horvath, David Pirrò, Hanns Holger Rutz. Graz: esc media art laboratory.

Rutz, H. H. & Höldrich, R. (2017). A Sonification Interface Unifying Real-Time and Offline Processing. In Proceedings of the 14th Sound and Music Computing Conference (SMC) (pp. 50–57). Espoo.

Thomas, J., Kareem, A. & Bowyer, K. (2012). Fast robust perspective transform estimation for automatic image registration in disaster response applications. In 2012 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) (pp. 2190–2193). doi:10.1109/IGARSS.2012.6351066


von Foerster, H. (2003). For Niklas Luhmann: How Recursive is Communication? (R. Howe, Trans.). In, Understanding Understanding: Essays on Cybernetics and Cognition (pp. 305–323). New York: Springer. (Original work published 1993)


Wirth, N. (1976). Algorithms + data structures = programs. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7559/citarj.v9i3.416


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Journal of Science and Technology of the Arts
Revista de Ciência e Tecnologia das Artes
ISSN: 1646-9798
e-ISSN: 2183-0088
Portuguese Catholic University | Porto


Esta revista científica é financiada por Fundos Nacionais através da FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

 Governo da República Portuguesa