"...Decisions of time and space were out of my hands... I could become tied into another personŐs time and space... "

Vito Acconci

d-rhum (drum room) is a room that responds to the presence and movement of its occupants. Computers translate sensor data into commands sent to motors. The motors stretch, push, strike with mallets, and move sections of the walls or the walls themselves. The walls are built of malleable materials such as latex and silicone.

As participants enter and move around the room, they notice that the walls move, change shape, and emit percussive sounds. Upon further investigation, they discover that they can interact with aspects of the movements and sounds of the room by coordinating their own movements. They are encouraged to play the room like drums with random and/or deliberate movements around the sensors.

The spatial configuration of d-rhum and its participants is dynamic and constantly evolving. Within this fluid environment, participants begin to see that their personal boundaries are fuzzy. As they move, so do the walls, thus blurring the traditional limited expectations of architectural space. Certain combinations of movements cause deformations and sound emissions, but it is never clear which movements generate which reactions.

Our intentions in creating d-rhum are to explore two related issues. First, we wish to create an environment in which the understanding of one's boundaries is examined. Second, we wish to create an environment in which the biases of learned language can be overcome.

Movement and percussion are basic modes of communication that evolved from the most primitive cultures. By overlaying d-rhum's technological apparatus on such basic human communication techniques, we connect the participant to the long history of cultural evolution.

Daniel Schwartz
RomeBlack, Inc.
180 Varick Street, Suite 12A
New York, New York 10014 USA

Peter Franck, Richard Hughes, and Eugene James Flotteron

Additional Assistance
Colin Faber