Hanns Holger Rutz and Nayarí Castillo: Simultaneous Writing (Machines)

The singular “writing” is always suspicious, as the source of truth and authority, as monism. The multiple on the other hand(s) seems like the supreme expression of the algorithmic. A potentially endlessly ongoing writing, iteration, recursion, re-instantiation, or as Frieder Nake put it: “The work of art in algorithmic art is the description of an infinity of possible works.” Perhaps against the backdrop of capitalist-industrialist automated production and techno-optimism, when Cage was interviewed about HPSCHD, he said that “in the case of working with another person and with computer facilities, the need to work as though decisions were scarce—as though you had to limit yourself to one idea—is no longer pressing. It’s a change from the influences of scarcity or economy to the influences of abundance and—I’d be willing to say—waste.”

Waste, surplus, excess. It is interesting that the work on computers is linked here with collaborative work. How can we arrive at a form of excessive and collaborative writing that does not subscribe to the techno-optimist logic or imperative that all writing should become inter-connectable, compatible, ready for optimisation and exploitation? We want to capture this idea of a surplus writing—writing with machines, through machines, writing with other artists—that resists becoming a network node, one that preserves the alterity of each agent in the process, as a simultaneous writing. Instead of defining a topology that assigns positions to each part, totalising the text’s meaning, simultaneous writing practices hodology, makes pathways, orients different texts towards each other, allowing them to come together in a space without establishing cause-and-effect or hierarchy among them.

In this presentation, we work with sound and computation. We understand writing as an operation more generic than “linguistic” and discrete writing.


Hanns Holger Rutz is a sound and digital artist, composer, performer, and researcher. He holds a PhD in computer music, observing computer-based compositional processes. In his work, development and research on software and algorithms are crucial. He worked as researcher at the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics (IEM) Graz (AT), most recently leading the project “Algorithms that Matter”, funded by the FWF programme PEEK. He is chairman of Reagenz – Association for Artistic Experiments.

Nayarí Castillo is trained as molecular biologist, and works as installation artist focusing on interventions in public space and collaborative art. With experience in cross-border projects and eighteen years of active art praxis, she explores space as material, using text, objects, photography, architectural solutions and video. Her work engages with history, personal experiences, time and place, claiming a semantic where tools/ideas and devices/forms merge. She is research assistant at the Institute of Spatial Design of TU Graz (AT).