16 steps? 32? Phfft. How about 240 steps, with 240 sliders, over a space of 5 meters? That’s the latest vtol installation – and it’s breathtaking.

Don’t even think of trying this at home, kids. It looks like a nightmare build – that’s just 240 sliders alone. But in action, you can watch dazzling parades of red LED lights as they make their way across its expanse. The project is called “Ivy,” and it’s the creation of Moscow’s Dmitry Morozov, aka vtol (an artist moniker named after the vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft).

That’s impossibly costly and impractical, so this flies way past the more luxurious step sequencers we’ve seen of late (like Polyend’s seq or Koma’s Komplex. Behold its glitchy, bleepy dance:

While the scale is overwhelming, there’s one really clever sequencer idea that you could copy. While there’s just one big array of sliders, Ivy has multiple voices – hence you see more than one light blinking its way across the array. And those voices can be independent, added and removed at will and each with assignable tempo.

There’s some philosophical background to this, too. The installation interprets the “Open Codes” theme of a new exhibition at ZKM – Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Center for Arts and Media technology) in Karlsruhe, Germany:

On one side, Ivy is a representation of an archaic method of electronic music programming for analog synthesizers. On the other side – gigantic scale and obsessive multiplication of simple primitive elements turns this project into an art installation, that is referring to the topic of graphic and physical organization of parameters in electronic music.


Commission by ZKM for Open Codes exhibition, Karlsruhe, 2017.


– arduino mega with 74hc4067 multiplexors
– teensy for led control
– ws2811 leds
– 10k sliders x240


– max/msp


  • Max

    Multiple voices kind of screams for canon.
    These bleeps and blobs sounds like EMS in the 60s.
    A lot of blinking lights and blip blip sound, not very impressive in 2017.

    • Ha, wait, canons are kind of 18th Century, if you’re going to go there, no? 😉

      These were aesthetic choices, and … well, not really *wrong* choices there 🙂

      • Max

        I think it’s category “Vor der Tür in die Hose geschissen” 😉
        How hard can it be to come up with something more sonically pleasing?

  • Kyle Werle

    Tough crowd lol. vtol is really great!

  • Lindon Parker

    Essentially then this is playing a number of variable-length-and-tempo step sequencers – and just displaying them in all in one set of 240 leds. So in fact, despite the lovely look of it and its massive, well, length…its less utility than a 8 track 32 -step sequencer…

  • Will

    All the points for pulling this off. I would LOVE to spend an afternoon with it.

    Until then, I’m quite happy with Quantum on the iPad. It’s 384 steps in total and they can played in a row or split up into (up to) 24 parts that can play at the same time or sequentially or some sequentially (or… any old way via follow actions), each with their own transposition, clock divider, play direction… Steps can be polyphonic (chords), ratcheted, repeated, have skip/mute probability, send CCs… For like 10 bucks or something. 🙂