Algorithmic Rituals

Algorithmic Rituals presented by EMMEDIA

Algorithmic Rituals is an interactive, collaborative movement art piece in which visitors create rituals that ponder how we can create space for ourselves in the context of worlds structured so largely by computers. It culminates in a collaborative, improvised dance. From social media to search engines and healthcare to our jobs, computers are making so many decisions about all of us, and there’s often little say we have. 

There are four upcoming online editions of Algorithmic Rituals for Fall 2023!

You can sign up to attend at the Eventbrite links below:

In this art experience, we use movement and conversation prompts to think about how our lives and bodies relate to these systems. We’ll work from a flowchart based on our relationships to decision-making systems to generate movements, and combine them together to see what patterns emerge. You do not need to be experienced with dance or movement to participate, and all movements can be adapted to your physical ability and available space.

If you’d like a preview of Algorithmic Rituals, please check out the above video produced by EMMEDIA.

Each session starts with a short conversation about questions like:

  • Where do our lives intersect with these systems? What consequences do you notice? What consequences are hidden?
  • What are your daily rituals now? Do they change because of these systems, or not? How are they useful to you? How do you use them to relate to the world?

Then we’ll generate movement and go through a few rounds of generating patterns in how we move together, changing our movement based on the other participants. We’ll have a final conversation to close out the event.

The sessions will occur online via Zoom. The main session will not be recorded, but you are invited to stay on at the end of the session if you wish to participate in a recorded movement session.

This piece uses the song Starsailor by Beco.

Presentation History

  • July 7th, 9th, 10th 2021 in partnership with Emmedia
  • February 15th 2022 as part of TEI 2022
  • September 15th 2023 as part of BRAIN at Beakerhead 2023

Participants needed for research in participatory art

We are looking for volunteers who have attended this art experience to take part in a study of how visitors experience participatory art installations about complex social issues.

As a participant in this study, you would be asked to: 

  • Complete a questionnaire about your background and your experience with visual art.
  • Participate in an zoom-based, audio-recorded interview about how you experienced the work.

Your participation is entirely voluntary and would take approximately 60 minutes of your time.  By participating in this study you will help us to better understand how visitors experience participatory art so that we can develop improved strategies for engaging the public with complex social issues using this method.  If you’d like more information about the study, please read the consent information here (PDF). If you are interested in setting up an interview, please fill out this Qualtrics survey and the research team will contact you.

This study is supervised by: 

Lora Oehlberg – Professor
Faculty of Science, Department of Computer Science
University of Calgary

The University of Calgary Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board has approved this research study (ID number: REB19-0395).