Installation Turns Bitcoin Exchange To Music

Laboratoria Art & Science Space in Moscow is hosting an instrumental installation, Silk, which generates sound based according to the real-time changes in the market activities related to cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Litecoin.

The artist, ::vtol:: explains how the installation works:

[The] constantly changing currency rate of of Bitcoin against major world currencies is influencing the strain of strings in installation and the way the picks are hitting them. The robotic system of the artwork is directed by a computer algorithm: influenced by dynamic changes of data, the installation sounds like a complex sound instrument.


The composer/creator of Silk is ::vtol::, a project of Dmitry Morozov, a Russian media-artist, musician and self-described “engineer of strange-sounding mechanisms.”

Technically speaking, the installation consists of two tall (2m) poles each with five strings, one for each currency being compared (US dollar, Yuan, Euro, Canadian dollar and Russian ruble). These strings are pulled on automatic tuners moved by precise stepper motors directed by a computer algorithm, and the tension (and pitch) changes with even small changes of parameters of the algorithm.

vtol-silk_bitcoin_sonification_of_dataCreatively and philosophically, the ::vtol:: explains that the Silk installation “explores how new technologies and progress in such areas of knowledge as cryptography, mathematics, computer science influence the financial system, inevitably changing the social structure of the society. These changes can be characterised by growing decentralization, transparency, unfalsifiability, immateriality of values. The ‘Silk road’ of the future, the global network of Internet is creating its own unit of exchange independent from political and geographical limitations. Bitcoin has no material analogue, and may be only conditionally compared to existing currencies, in fact being a protocol of values transfer. Technologies of future stimulate creation of virtual entities, which still have no less real meaning – and Bitcoin is one of the first examples.”

He continues, “The artwork also becomes immaterial: Silk is transforming the network data of cryptocurrency, which looks very abstract for the spectator, into the string sound of no less elusive nature. The rules of the transformation are defined, and in future the artwork exists autonomously, generating infinite number of variations and harmonies.”

Hardware setup:

  • Tuning mechanism with 10 stepper motors
  • 10 servo motors
  • Dimarzio guitar rail pickups
  • 2 channel sound system
  • Arduino


  • Max/MSP
  • Pure data

The project is co-commissioned by Laboratoria Art&Science Space and Lykke AG. For more information about the artist and this installation, check out ::vtol::’s website.

2 thoughts on “Installation Turns Bitcoin Exchange To Music

  1. interesting topic for input of data but nice idea over all and it’s great to hear some actual experimental sounds going on here! it doesn’t happen too much anymore…

  2. Another programmer nerd project labelled as ‘art’ and ‘music’, which I detected neither of. Research, engineering, and observing – that’s what this is. There is no expression or artfully crafted execution here.

    Claim something is art, and I’m going to critique it like art.

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