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Portrait of Tim Otto Roth in occasion of the startup of his Vertigo residency at Dresden


Tim Otto Roth

TOR (*1974) is a German conceptual artist and composer living and working in Oppenau (Black Forest) and Cologne. For his light and sound related projects presented from Hanoi to New York he collaborated with leading scientific institutions. Space plays a major conceptual role in his huge sound installations. These immersive acoustic laboratories are literally compositions of numerous individual custom made speaker sculptures distributed in the whole space or set even into motion. As the tones recomposing at each position differently to specific local sounds, the role of the audience is redefined advancing to an actively exploring agent.

Artist Statement

The Theatre of Memory opens the door to innovative forms of interaction and perception in an immersive sound environment: The audience moves through a field of speakers mounted on strings pending from the ceiling. Each of the custom designed speaker sculptures plays a characteristic sine tone when sufficiently excited, which in turn stimulates other speakers according to a neuronal feedback principle. Thus, the speakers turn into so-called audioneurons, weaving dynamic spatio-temporal nervous networks driven not by electric currents but by acoustic stimuli. This results in various possible scenarios and degrees of immersion: visitors but also musicians can take position in and outside, they can move, stand, sit or even lie down: a new musical experience. It is important to note that the Theatre of Memory is not a sonification of pre-recorded simulations of neuron networks, but the performing network is only formed in the here and now of the specific analogue spatial situation! The visitor thus stands in real time in the midst of a neurobiological driven network of tones – an experience which is reinforced by the correspondent changing colours of the speaker illumination. As the audience or musicians can interact acoustically neuronal feedback is experienced intuitively revealing to some extent the neurobiological basis of cognitive processes, the final details of which remain a mystery to this day.

Project : Theatre of Memory

The Theatre of Memory is a light augmented sound laboratory creating a unique immersive environment of luminescent speaker sculptures interacting in the whole space via tones. This dynamic acoustic network not only echoes fundamental neuronal processes underlying our memory, but it also allows new challenging forms of spatial participation for the audience. Above all, the underlying neurobiological feedback driving the interactions implicates a novel paradigm of composing but also of interaction with musicians.

Tim Otto Roth works

Heaven's Carousel premiere
Heaven’s Carousel – impression from the premiere at the Academia dei Lincei, Rome 2014, image: Pam Jeffries, STScI.
[aiskju:b] – A sound laboratorium by Tim Otto Roth in cooperation with the IceCube Observatory Impression from the opening on 8 February 2019 at
Reaktorhalle Munich, image: Tim Otto Roth, imachination projects.