Timothy Perkis

Timothy Perkis
Résidents Labex RFIEA+
pas Eurias

dates de séjour

18/02/2013 - 12/07/2013


Arts et études des arts

Fonction d’origine

Artist, composer, researcher and visiting faculty in Music Composition

Institution d’origine

California College of the Arts (États-Unis)

pays d'origine


projet de recherche

Sonification of Complex Data

I propose an investigation into the development of new systems for the sonification of complex data sets. The explosive spread of sensor networks in the last decade, measuring ever more aspects of our physical environment, along with storage technologies for warehousing their output, has resulted in a torrent of data that challenges human abilities to make sense of it all. Sonification, as an alternative to graphical forms of data visualization, has long been available, but has not really reached its full potential to provide immersive presentations of data that can support intuitive discovery of patterns buried in the complexity of such huge data sets. Truly effective sonification of complex data requires the creation of navigable sonic spaces which leverage the active nature of human perception, and support our innate ability to parse complex acoustic scenes by moving through them and re-focusing our attention as needed. Meaningful sonic representation of data requires a blend of scientific, technical and artistic understanding, employing techniques from the realms of data analysis, computer science and musical composition. In my work at IMeRA, I will develop a practical toolset for the creation of immersive data sonifications, and work with other scientists and fellows to develop mappings of use to their respective fields.


Tim Perkis has been working in the medium of live electronic and computer sound for many years, performing and recording in North America, Europe and Japan. His artistic work has largely been concerned with the sonification of complex data flows, exploring the emergence of life-like properties in systems of interaction. In addition, he is a well known performer in the world of improvised music, having performed on his electronic improvisation instruments with hundreds of artists and groups from around the world. He is a pioneer of the use of computers in live musical performance, beginning in the 1970’s with the League of Automatic Music Composers and ongoing to this day with the Hub, pioneering live computer network bands which have been concerned with the mapping of complex data flows into musical representations. In his varied career as a researcher and engineer he has pursued a variety of interesting projects: designing museum displays for science and music museums in San Francisco, Toronto and Seattle; creating artificial-intelligence based auction tools and sensor fusion network visualization tools for the logistics industry;  building scientific experimental apparati; consulting on multimedia art presentation networks for the San Francisco Art Commission and San Francisco International Airport;  writing audio and control software embedded in toys and other consumer products;  and creating new tools for sound and video production, research and analysis.