OAM Uncertainty

Olivia Artz Modular: Uncertainty – it’s probably fine


If you stick something in the top it might come out of one of the outputs, or it might not. Or it can be a gate triggering VU meter, or something.


I came across Olivia Artz Modular because of the quizzical “Garden” front panel that appeared on ModularGrid.net this week. As there was no information beyond some flowers and a handful of patch-socket-sized holes I went in search of answers on the website. I found nothing to do with the Garden but I find a lot of Uncertainty.

Uncertainty is a 2HP gate processor, VU meter and open-source platform. You can replace the firmware, and potentially it could be anything within the constraints of its 9 sockets and LEDs. The original firmware is a stochastic gate processor. Stick a gate or trigger in the top and other gates or triggers will emerge (or not) from the 8 outputs.

You could see it as a drunken and slightly unpredictable clock divider. So, on the trigger input at the top, each of the outputs tosses a coin to decide whether it outputs the trigger or drops it. Output 1 is weighted to 99% yes, output 2 is 91% yes, then 67%, 50%, 33%, 13%, 5% and finally output 8 has a 1% chance of doing the thing.

There’s also a more complicated Branching Mode that’s to do with the input dropping below -1v and then something to do with four coins…. but I can’t work out what it means.

VU Meter

The first alternative firmware is a VU Meter. Very simply the louder the sound the more LEDs are lit. But the interesting twist is that as each LED is reached, it fires a 5v gate out of the corresponding output. So it sort of generates a cascade of gates in response to the loudness of the input. Cool!


Olivia Artz Modular is a place for art objects created by trans and gender non-conformant artists. Founder, Olivia Artz said:

OAM is a place where we lean on each other so our neurodivergence can remain an asset and a source of joy. we encourage each other and support each other’s projects however we can. we design, engineer, solder, and assemble instruments.

That sounds pretty awesome to me, and I’m looking forward to the Garden.