Prof. Dr. Ulf Otto

Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich
Institute for Theater Studies
Department of Arts
Faculty of Arts and History
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich

R. 006/EG, Georgenstraße 11, D-80799 Munich

tel.: +40 (0)89/2180-5954
mobile: +49 (0)1520/4359062
email: ulf.otto […]

Office hours, online per Zoom Thursdays 14-15.00 CET (Registration).

Information on current seminars and lectures via LSF & Moodle.

Concerning B.A. & M.A. supervision please get in touch early on, I am happy to supervise a broad spectrum of topics and can offer close support.

ORCID-ID: 0000-0002-3528-6972

Short Bio

Ulf Otto is Professor of Theater Studies with a focus on Intermediality Research at the Department of Art Studies at LMU Munich. Previously, as a post-doc at the University of Hildesheim, he led a junior research group within the framework of a Dilthey Fellowship of the Volkswagen Foundation.

He studied mathematics in London, theater studies and philosophy in Berlin and Toronto, and worked for several years as a director and dramaturge in the independent scene and at the municipal theater.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Hildesheim on the theatricality of early Internet Culture and additionally earned a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the FU Berlin. Teaching assignments have taken him to Exeter, Mainz, Bern, Ludwigsburg and Zurich. He habilitated at the University of Hildesheim with a thesis on the history of electricity in the theater in the late 19th century, and shortly thereafter he followed the call to the LMU Munich.

Monographs have appeared with Transcript and Metzler, and essays have been published in Theater Research International, Theater Journal, and The Drama Review, among others. He has edited relevant anthologies on reenactments (together with J. Roselt), algorithms and interventions (together with J. Zorn) in the context of performative arts and is active internationally as a reviewer.

Research intererests

I am a theater studies scholar with an affinity for media and cultural studies, a special interest in the relationship between aesthetics and technology, and a focus on the nineteenth century and digital cultures. My work has been informed by several years as a theater practitioner and by my background in computer science. Lately, it has been increasingly influenced by science and technology studies (STS, ANT), especially the feminist streak (Haraway, etc.).

Earlier academic work examined the theatricality of early internet culture and developed categories for describing performative practices online, resulting in my first monograph and a continued interest in performance within digital cultures. For the past few years I was primarily working on a project called Energies of Spectacle, generously funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, that explored the electrification of theatre and the entanglement of science and culture in the late nineteenth century from a historiographical perspective. Two side projects, Gestures of Reenactment and Aesthetics of Interventions, have been addressing the interplay and interdependencies between politics and the arts.

Methodologically, I have lately been exploring ethnographic and digital humanities approaches and am increasingly interested in methodological and epistemological question of the discipline. Most recently, the central research focus has shifted back to questions of mediation of theatre and performance.

Currently, I am starting the DFG project Die Kunst der Gewerke: Eine Praxeograhie des Theaterapparats (The Art of Crafts: A Praxeography of the Theater Apparatus) and am preparing to apply for two projects that use computational methods to investigate the visual media of theater.

Bios & Foto (copyright: U. Otto)