Reading Room #24 – Time in the Age of Algorithms (part 2)

May 22, 2018
Stroom Den Haag, Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
17:00 – 19:30

Guests: Yvonne Förster, Warrick Roseboom, Joel Ryan
Texts by: Erin Manning, Warrick Roseboom, Yvonne Förster

Please reserve a spot by sending an email to We will also provide you with a copy of the texts.

This is the first/second part of a two event cluster. The first session is on Mar 4, for more information click here.


The temporal structures of reality have become far more complex since digital technology has become present in everyday life. Clearly the notion of ‘human’ time perception cannot exist without the times also hidden within the tools and technologies that co-construct our lived experiences. Lived ‘human time’ is never a given, is multiple and idiosyncratic; however, the current algorithmic age is one dominated by universalizing models – normalized databases, lossy information encodings, and algorithms optimized for efficiency – leaving our diverse and plastic minds to brave a potential Cartesian jungle.

This cluster of The Reading Room looks to better understand the transformation of ‘human time’ in the age of algorithms – taking a broad range of examples from the arts, media, artificial intelligence and neuroscience. Besides considering the mechanisms by which the experience of time is co-created through digital technologies, and the socio-political ramifications of this construction, we will discuss how certain algorithmic representations of time and models of the mind, such as those based on recent neural-network based topologies, could potentially liberate digital systems from their efficiency dogmas towards more diverse and fluid temporalities.


We are very excited to begin a new year of discussions, ideas and inspirations with The Reading Room! For this first cluster we welcome an especially diverse group of guests from philosophy, performance, music and computational neuroscience to address questions about time that we have had bubbling in our minds for some time now.


The Reading Room is an event series dedicated to creating a community-oriented, public platform for encounters with contemporary ideas on art and society. At its core, the Reading Room series revolves around the reading of texts provided by invited guests – cultural theorists, philosophers and curators – who join our diverse community in an open discussion while providing insight, context and perspective on the topics at hand.

The series stems from a belief that keeping a close connection to historical and emerging theories on art and culture is invaluable to artists. Especially in the 21st century, where theory, practice and social engagement in the arts seem to merge ever more seamlessly.

The Reading Room’s curatorial and organizational team is Sissel Marie Tonn, Jonathan Reus and Flora Reznik. The program is produced by the Instrument Inventors Initiative and, since 2016, is hosted by Stroom Den Haag.

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Prof. Dr. Yvonne Förster is currently research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Cultural Sciences at University of Konstanz, Germany. Until 2016 she held a position as junior professor of philosophy of culture and art at Leuphana University Lüneburg, dept. of Philosophy and Art and was a senior research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies MECS (Media Cultures of Computer Simulation) at Leuphana University in 2017. She did her PhD in philosophy at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena in 2009 and was appointed visiting professor of aesthetics at the Bauhaus University Weimar in 2009/10. Her research focuses on posthumanism, theories of embodiment, phenomenology, aesthetics and fashion theory.

Warrick Roseboom is a computational neuroscientist and cognitive science researcher focusing on human perception. His research is most generally interested in how usually coherent perception can result from varying and sometimes incoherent sensory input, with a particular focus on human temporal perception. In his research experiments he uses a combination of human behavioural, computational modelling, neuroimaging, and artificial systems approaches.

Roseboom completed a PhD under the supervision of Dr. Derek Arnold in the Perception Lab at the School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Australia and earlier worked in the Synaptic Plasticity Lab at the Queensland Brain Institute. He is currently leader of the Time Perception Group at the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, UK and is part of the six-partner EU project Timestorm, which aims to equip artificial systems with human-like temporal cognition.

Joel Ryan is a composer, inventor and scientist. He is a pioneer in the design of musical instruments based on real-time digital signal processing. He currently works at STEIM in Amsterdam, tours with the Frankfurt Ballet and is a teacher at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague. Starting from a scientific rather than a musical education, he moved into music by degrees from physics via philosophy. Ryan seeks to bring concreteness to digital electronic media through the intelligent touch of the performer. Taking time as an epitome of music making, Ryan’s work looks to zoom in on the innate capacity for perceiving its quantity, outside of language and analytic thinking.