rdd – robodynamic diffusion

The RDD system utilizes a custom built uni-directional speaker that produces a tightly focused beam of sound, like a sonic spotlight, which can be robotically aimed in any direction from any single position within the performance space. This robotic speaker is in effect a mobile soloist, however the resulting experience upends expectations: cast into the room, the RDD’s sonic beam bounces and blends with the reverberant space in subtle and surprising ways. Much of the time the sound appears to originate from invisible yet mobile sources in the room or from the walls, floor and ceiling themselves. We look around for another sound source, only to realize that the room’s own reflections are transforming this robot soloist into a spectral ensemble. Though we can rationally connect the sound’s source to the position of the robot, its ventriloquistic projections open the potential for sounding to the entire volume of the room. No longer a simple container, the room becomes a respondent and the sonic coauthor of a spatial drama. Likewise, as the speaker’s narrow beam reflects it produces complex patterns of sound that vary widely by listening position, such that a listener’s own movements produce striking changes in what they hear. The audience for an RDD performance is invited to move and explore these acoustic effects, to displace themselves from their passive position as audience-receivers and into a system of feedback and response as listener-collaborators.

RDD’s robot is not intended to be the work’s focus, but is important primarily for the displacements it can effect: controlled disorientations and sensory redirections which invite a refreshed engagement with the choreographed situation, toward a sense of space that is multi-perspectival and responsive. These displacements begin with the speakers themselves. Spatialized audio, whether multichannel surround or wave field synthesis, is delivered traditionally from a set of fixed loudspeakers. Movement is simulated by the transition of sound between these fixed elements. This defines what RDD co-founder Jan St. Werner calls a ‘room within a room’, a kind of virtual space of listening placed within the real space we occupy as persons.

Andy Graydon

Robodynamische Diffusion (RDD) ist ein Projekt von Michael Akstaller, Nele Jäger, Oliver Mayer und Jan St. Werner

Gefördert von LEONARDO – Zentrum für Kreativität und Innovation TH Nürnberg und Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung von Evocortex

Fotos & Video Joseph Kadow / Single RDD Foto Eunice Maurice / Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden

encourage the stream – kunsthalle baden-baden

Encourage The Stream (2021) by Jan St. Werner, half of the electronic music group Mouse on Mars, functions as an acoustic amplification of the Oos River, which flows through the park as the heart of Baden-Baden and shapes its nature. In an attempt to communicate with the Oos, Werner places a microphone just above the water to transport the sound of the river via a directional loudspeaker beyond the riverbank into the park toward the Kunsthalle. Thereby, Werner creates the possibility to explore and perceive the Oos at different frequencies of sound (acoustically) and create new spatial relationships. The active act of listening creates a perceptual experience of distance and proximity. The acoustic supersedence of space and time also stands for engagement with the forces of nature. It is therefore no coincidence that the first large-scale public art work commissioned by Çağla İlk and Misal Adnan Yıldız for their tenure as directors of the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden is a single project of an experimental artistic practice that brings together the fields of visual art and sound.