Right of Way

NDSM-Fuse @NDSM Werf, Amsterdam

Right of Way is a sound installation in which the visitor puts the fast pace of day-to-day life in the city on hold for a while and experiences in a playful manner the emptiness, the architecture and the acoustics of the monumental NDSM wharf. At present, the industrial building and its surroundings are going through significant urban developments. Amid this transformation process, Schut looks for a new balance.

The title was inspired by the walks taken by a number of English poets at the beginning of the 19th century who continued to walk the footpaths that threatened to become part of private land in an attempt to keep them public. Schut actually makes use of the NDSM building as an art space to ensure that it stays a public art space.

By means of a computer algorithm which he designed in collaboration with Robin Koek and using a number of simple sounds from his extensive archive, a spatial game is created with 64 speakers which are set up in the attic space of the building. While the computer plays with the possibilities it is offered through the algorithm, the visitor plays along, swinging, walking, sitting or lying down among the speakers. The sound continuously generates new, nonpredetermined images. The algorithm determines which sound and silence movements occur, in which order they and how long the fragments lasts. The sounds, which are offered on the basis of coincidence, form the building material for the visitor’s imagination. In this way, computer and human being co-create a soundscape in which there is no repetition and everything is permanently in motion.

Right of Way is also a spirited reference to Constant’s New Babylon: a new architectural construct for the playing human being (‘homo ludens’), in which the potential of the unallocated space can be experienced and celebrated.

Catarina Garcia, Wout Teunissen, Anne Douqué, Robin Koek, Robert Bosch, Paul Timmer, Bert Helmich, Paul Rinsma, Jolanda Lanslot, Jacqueline Schoemaker, Roderique, Henk Schut.

Realised with the support of Amsterdam Funding of the Arts and winner Open Call NDSM Werf 2019.