Jan St. Werner | DAF (Dynamische Akustische Forschung)

Jan St. Werner: Difficult Diffusion #1: HKW & Carillon
Carillon and main entrance

Even Albert Einstein wasn’t always right. He once refused to believe in the principle of quantum entanglement: the fact that the properties of two particles far apart could depend on each other. But in November 2016, approximately 100,000 people took part in a scientific experiment by playing an online game on smartphones and computers. The result, published two years later, contradicted Einstein: The so-called Big Bell Test proved that the phenomenon Einstein dubbed “spooky action at a distance” does occur.

Thanks to Jan St. Werner, visitors of The Sound of Distance can now experience this phenomenon of entanglement for themselves, several times a day for a few minutes at a time. The carillon in the Tiergarten bell tower and a loudspeaker mounted on the façade of HKW will play sounds in perfect simultaneity. Their frequency spectrum, envelopes and intensity are precisely tuned to each other, like two identical particles that have become sound and depend on each other. The interweaving of the two sound sources allows the audience to experience the “spooky action at a distance” close up, with all the superimposition, amplification or cancellation effects that arise, depending on their location. Later they can go home with the good feeling of having refuted a great theorist in practice.

DAF (Dynamische Akustische Forschung): Sonic Synchronicity
Sound intervention
Throughout HKW

The acronym DAF stands for Dynamische Akustische Forschung (Dynamic Acoustic Research), a project launched by Jan St. Werner and Michael Akstaller with changing numbers of members. For DAF, sound art is not rigid and static like sculpture, but pursues a social, material and energetic practice. In its Sonic Synchronicity, the collective borrows from Maryanne Amacher’s sound art series City Links, for which the U.S. artist transmitted soundscapes from far-away locations to galleries in real time. DAF will also dynamize this approach: Protagonists equipped with microphones will move through the Haus and the urban space, the signals they transmit will be mixed by other collective members and, as a multi-channel installation, will repeatedly intervene at unexpected places and at unspecified times.

Thus, the sounds of very specific places do not unite at another place, but rather both input and output are set in constant motion and the results can be experienced anew in a dynamic way. The urban space, highly regulated during the pandemic, becomes fluid through DAF’s activities and allows both the documentation and the collective interpretation of the individually experienced soundscape of architecture. The project is therefore not only driven by aesthetic ideas, but also by the question of how new forms of togetherness can be playfully created.