The audiovisual installation Rotor was inspired by the idea of a time machine. While our creation does not transport people to the past or the future, it does something nearly as impossible in the information age: It helps viewers remain in and more fully experience the present moment, embedding them in a kind of permanent present as they watch the imaginary rotation of a light cylinder and gradually get sucked into a meditative trance.

Its shape is inspired by the so-called Tipler cylinder time machine concept, which is based on the assumption that an infinitely long cylindrical material volume rotating along its longitudinal axis could create certain space and time warps, making time travel possible.

The installation consists of 72 RGB laser modules mounted on a cylindrical steel frame with a diameter of 2.4 meters. Continuous high-speed animations from an array of colored laser beams create a sense of spinning matter, while a series of animation patterns generate a stroboscopic effect simulating the cylinder's rotation.

To some viewers it may seem as if its “rotation” is slower or that it even moves in the opposite direction than in reality, as if they were seeing an actual Tipler cylinder. The sound and animation are played in sync, creating a colorful noise ambience that makes the viewer feel as if one second has been stretched out and wrapped around them like a blanket.

The light animation was prepared in a close interaction with sonic artwork that simulates rotation and the flow of energy through low-frequency rhythmic patterns mixed with high-frequency humming. As a programming environment for sound design, a modular synthesizer synchronized with the lasers’ programming via midi-to-cv interface. This combination of light animations, audible sounds and inaudible vibrations can be felt throughout the body and mind, creating a trance-like sensation of being isolated from the passage of time.


  • Concept, production and video: VOLNA
  • Music and sound design: Sergey Kostyrko
  • Engineering: Alexey Belyakov
  • Camera and photo: Polina Korotaeva, Ivan Chernov, VOLNA
  • Special thanks: Artem Zotikov, Viktor Smolenskiy, William Cohen
  • Commissioned by Roots United
  • © VOLNA (2018)