::vtol:: “turbo-gusli” demo performance from ::vtol:: on Vimeo.

Musical instruments: make a move, get a sound.

Or, musical instruments: apply an algorithm, get a sound. Read the tattoos on your arm as a score, turn the black-and-white patterning of a seashell into generated audiovisual artwork, apply brainwaves to a folk instrument and let a robot play it…

Such are the mental excursions of one ::vtol::, aka Moscow’s Dmitry Morozov. He’s been busy over the past year or so, wearing robots that interface with tattoos to make music and constructing surround sound umbrellas. And we still have more crazy-science goodness to share.

The “turbo-gusli” or “gusli-samogudy” – top – takes a Russian folk instrument and has it play itself. Built with Arduino and Pd and inspired by the folk tale notion of a self-playing instrument, this robotic instrumental player reads your thoughts via EEG adapter.

– servo motors x6
– dc motor x1
– stepper motor x1
– solenoids x3
– spings x8
– strings x38
– arduino uno x2
controlling software – pure data


Via Animal New York’s Sophie Weiner, who’s been following this stuff.

More, in videos:

::vtol:: “turbo-gusli” + emotiv EPOC neuro EEG headset from ::vtol:: on Vimeo.

::vtol:: “turbo-gusli” setup from ::vtol:: on Vimeo.


The EGOphone responds to online social interaction with glitchy musical serenades. Add Facebook, Twitter and VKontakte likes [VKontakte is second only to Facebook as the popular social network in Russia], and you get a sonic answer.

::vtol:: “egophone” from ::vtol:: on Vimeo.


– servo motor
– arduino uno
– piezo disk
– 2 channel sound system
– luminescent lamp
– relay


– Pure Data
– Chrome



Lastly, conus takes the possibilities of Cellular Automata – the famous generative algorithm – to a new level. Rather than directly working with the algorithm, it reads it from its natural habitat, scanning seashells and making visual and sonic output from what it sees.

::vtol:: conus from ::vtol:: on Vimeo.

Pattern analysis – VVVV
Video generators and processors – DIY Cellular Automata Video synth (code by critter and guitari), ::vtol:: tv-404
Sound – DIY synths, Clavia Nord Modular g2, 6-channel sound system
Other equipment – steel, motors, plastic, DIY microscopes and electronics.
Special thanks to: Alexandra Gavrilova (stain.ws), Boris Kislitsin.
Laboratoria Art&Science, Moscow, 2013

Starting with a mollusk whose black and white patterns neatly follow the cell-by-cell rules of the algorithm, the artist makes the artificial out of the natural – or is that the other way around? Topping a metal sculptural creation with brightly-colored displays, the installation itself is worthy of the early Russian avant-garde, a mini-architectural tower of algorithmic output.



I can’t wait to see what vtol does next. Catch him in a performance, opening, or workshop near you.